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Lane Crawford opens flagship China store in Shanghai 7 years after closure

Retailer returns seven years after quitting the mainland city, and is taking a long-term view

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 12:00pm

Brushing aside concerns about the impact of Beijing's anti-corruption drive on luxury sales, Lane Crawford has re-entered the mainland's commercial capital, Shanghai, opening its flagship store on the city's busiest shopping street.

Lane Crawford president Andrew Keith said its customers would buy luxury goods for personal use rather than as gifts. He also emphasised the company's long-term commitment to the mainland market.

Lane Crawford quit Shanghai seven years ago, when it closed its store at Shanghai Times Square.

Keith said the company would not focus on the short-term performance of the new store and would, instead, take a long-term view.

The new store, covering 150,000 square feet, cost 400 million yuan (HK$506 million).

"Global retail leadership is now coming from China, and the China customer is at the forefront of fashion," Keith said. "We set out to create the ultimate luxury fashion and lifestyle destination - the largest selection of luxury brands in an innovative, highly visual space, offering world-class service at a scale never before seen in Shanghai."

Global consultancy Bain & Co says Chinese shoppers account for 25 per cent of the worldwide luxury market.

However, Beijing's calls to curb the waste of public money have stoked fears of weaker sales of luxury goods as government agencies and state-owned enterprises refrain from buying expensive gifts.

There are increasing signs that more well-to-do mainlanders have become more indulgent in displaying their individualism through luxury goods.

The brands offered by Lane Crawford in Shanghai are not necessarily the ones well-known to mainland customers, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Keith said it would introduce new brands as a way to reflect "how exciting and vibrant the city is".

The brands that are new to mainland shoppers will include Jil Sander and Jason Wu.

The new store will sell 500 international brands over its four floors, with more than 20,000 square feet dedicated to personalised services in beauty, fashion and lifestyle.

Lane Crawford also has a store in Beijing.

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