The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, Asia’s premier fashion retail and brand management Group, on Thursday said it will establish a business to service partnerships with large-scale international brands targeting China’s middle class.
The company, Walton Brown, will be established as a full-service platform for high-profile international fashion and lifestyle brands in the contemporary and premium segment with the potential to operate more than 100 points of sale across the first tier to forth tier cities in China. Offering distribution through retail, wholesale, e-commerce, travel retail and outlets, Walton Brown will provide total geographic and channel coverage of the market.
"As the luxury market in Greater China matures, the rapidly expanding and increasingly aspirational middle class presents new opportunities for us outside our current retail business. Given our heritage and expertise in the market we are perfectly positioned to capture this opportunity,” said Jennifer Woo, Chairman and CEO of The Lane Crawford Joyce Group.
Walton Brown currently operates the chain of premium shopping malls Maison Mode in Chengdu, Changsha and Urumqi, with more than 800 brands across 800,000 square feet. It also operates an outlet business with large retail complexes totalling more than 600,000 square feet, offering off-season fashion merchandise from more than 200 brands, in Chengdu under the Times Outlets banner, and Qingdao. A 1.4 million square foot site is under development for an outlet in Changsha to open in 2016, with more outlets to follow in Western China.
Walton Brown will pursue strategic long-term partnerships, new areas of business and new distribution channels beyond the current portfolio of the group. Juicy Couture, which was launched in Greater China by ImagineX in 2006, will move to Walton Brown to activate its roadmap of expansion from its existing 90 points of sale. Sister company ImagineX will focus on building brands aligned with The Lane Crawford Joyce Group’s multi-brand fashion portfolio.
"There is no shortage of brands wanting an entry and growth strategy for China, it remains a complicated market and one with many constraints which we work with every day. By investing in the creation of a large-format multi-channel platform to manage new categories and brands of scale outside our current retail platform, we can move quickly on emerging trends we see in this very dynamic middle market segment," Woo said.
Thomson Cheng has been appointed to the position of President of Walton Brown while retaining his role as Managing Director of sister company ImagineX. Cheng joined ImagineX in 1996 and with Vice Chairman and CEO Balbina Wong, has helped drive dynamic growth of the business, building an extensive network of premium landlords and retail partners and leading strategic brand acquisitions and joint venture projects.