Switzerland Business Report 2017

New concept stores in Asia showcase Bally’s creative direction

Luxury brand is developing and strengthening relationships across the region and is opening concept stores in prestigious malls in Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun, Hong Kong and elsewhere

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 12:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2017, 5:46pm

Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports

Breaking records in the luxury brand sector, Bally was among the trailblazers in establishing international presence. Bally’s iconic stripe is renowned around the world, thanks mainly to the company’s strategy to spread its wings early on to build a strong brand identity.

“Bally was a true international player a century earlier than the rest of the industry. I want to honour our pioneering legacy by continuing to strengthen the brand even more overseas,” says CEO Frédéric de Narp.

The company crossed overseas to Montevideo in 1870, Buenos Aires in 1873, Paris in 1879 and London in 1882. In 1986, Bally marked another milestone by being one of the first luxury brands to enter China. Shortly after its China expansion, Bally expanded its operations to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Lebanon and Turkey.

With many locations across the globe, Bally creates many opportunities for consumers to experience the brand in their home markets and abroad. This strategy pays off as consumers from all over the world gain awareness of the Bally brand.

Of its loyal following, Bally’s Asian customers are among the top purchasers, accounting for almost 60 per cent of the company’s total product sales. Chinese customers in particular are loyal patrons of the brand, continuing to buy Bally products in their home market after encountering it in their travels abroad.

“The Chinese love Bally and they recognise that it is one of the ultimate brands. We’ve reduced the price gap between Europe and China to give our clients a better experience in shopping with Bally,” de Narp says.

Catering to a strong customer base in China, Bally has a comprehensive strategy to reach more customers in the country. Bally plans to bring down the number of its physical stores in China from 60 to invest in building bigger and better stores in strategic locations.

I envision Bally in Asia to become the most vibrant luxury brand that is built on the most exceptional legacy
Frédéric de Narp, CEO, Bally

Bally opened a new 225-square-metre concept store designed by David Chipperfield Architects in the International Finance Centre (IFC Mall) in Shanghai. Characterised by a brass aluminium façade and red marble at the cash desk that serve as a magnificent backdrop for Bally’s collections, the David Chipperfield-designed store has generated a 30 per cent sales increase since its opening.

Looking to showcase its premium quality pieces, it is only fitting that Bally establishes a 600-square-metre store in one of China’s most luxurious malls, China World, in Beijing. Bally is going full steam ahead in China with a new store in Plaza 66 in Shanghai and another one in Changchun. In Hong Kong, Bally is also increasing by 70 per cent the size of its store in Ocean Centre in Harbour City.

Bally is ready for a fashion takeover in China. Taking a unified approach across various platforms, Bally aims to expand its reach with the launch of its own e-commerce and WeChat platform in China in April this year.

“Less is more. It’s not about quantity but quality. We reduce the number of stores but increase our reach with our online platform,” de Narp says. “We are really investing in all digital touch points in China. We have an incredible partner there helping us with our social media campaign. Their cultural knowledge helps us in formulating the right strategies,” de Narp says.

Tapping another market with great potential, Bally partnered with Reliance Group to exclusively market and distribute Bally products in India, a historically challenging country to penetrate with its long tradition of clothing design. The two plan to open a Bally store in New Delhi this year and are looking to further expand in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in the future.

“Joining forces with a partner of this calibre makes us very confident that we can be relevant and successful in the market. Indian consumers are becoming very discerning and are developing an appreciation for quality and craftsmanship, the demands for which Bally is perfectly suited to meet,” de Narp says.

Across Asia, Bally is developing and strengthening relationships, working with experienced partners to expand its business. In Malaysia and in Vietnam, Bally is fast becoming a fashion staple among consumers.

Bally is also making waves in one of Asia’s fashion capitals, Japan. Its David Chipperfield-designed flagship store in Tokyo fits right in with the Japanese aesthetic and is drawing healthy interest from locals.

“Bally is thriving in Asia and it is a fascinating development for the brand. I envision Bally in Asia to become the most vibrant luxury brand that is built on the most exceptional legacy,” de Narp says. “Bally is a happy luxury brand – top quality and approachable. People will never be disappointed with Bally.”