LANE Crawford International will continue to strengthen its business in Singapore and to expand in China, in spite of recent 'flat sales' in the region, says chairman John Lees. Mr Lees, also executive director, said an outlet in Singapore opened in May and results have yet to be evaluated. 'Our investment [in the regional markets] is long term. We are building the name for the group in the region, although the benefit will not be reflected immediately in profit.' Mr Lees said the company planned to open two branded shops on the mainland. The Shanghai outlet will have a floor area of 6,000 square feet, while the one in Beijing will be 3,000 sq ft. Both locations 'are good places to start our business. These shops will give us a ground in China'. Mr Lees said these small branded shop, for names such as Escada and Hugo Boss, would act as pioneers, providing information on the Chinese market before the company set up the traditional Lane Crawford department stores. Referring to the Hong Kong market, Mr Lees said: 'Growth in sales volume has been flat and there is no excitement.'