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By
AFP
Published
Sep 29, 2011
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Jimmy Choo plans huge China expansion

By
AFP
Published
Sep 29, 2011

Beijing, Sept 29, 2011 (AFP) - Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon said Thursday the upscale shoemaker hopes to open up to 50 stores in China over the next five years in what she dubbed an "exciting" market for high-end goods.


Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Choo FW 11/12

China is the world's fastest-growing market for luxury products and an ongoing economic boom is creating new dollar billionaires every year in a huge explosion in wealth.

Jimmy Choo currently has just two shops in China -- one in Beijing and another in Shanghai. A third will open at the end of the year in the eastern city of Nanjing, said Mellon, the shoemaker's "chief creative officer".

"Our (China) business has increased 100 percent (in terms of profits) in the last year on the existing locations we have," said Mellon, who was in Beijing as part of a British delegation to the Chinese capital's first design festival.

She said the British firm -- whose shoes cost anywhere from $300 to $1,600 -- would open at least 30 stores in China by 2016. "But the potential over the next five years could be up to 50," she told AFP.

In comparison, Jimmy Choo has just 40 stores across the United States.

Forbes magazine said earlier this month that China had a total of 146 billionaires this year -- up 14 percent from 2010, and second only to the United States with 413.

The brokerage firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said in January that China would account for 44 percent of worldwide sales of luxury goods by 2020 -- bigger than the entire global market is now.

Mellon said that many of China's rich were only in their 30s and 40s -- relatively young compared with other markets.

"The wealth here is... very young, which is great because they love luxury, they love fashion, so this is a very exciting market."

She said that consumers of luxury products have also changed over the past few years.

"What we found a few years ago was that... men were making money, men were buying brands, they were shopping. Men's brands did phenomenally well much sooner than women's brands," she said.

"Now, there are a lot more women who are working and who are shopping. The market is really taking off now."

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