To finish off 2012, Beijing has witnessed a flurry of new flagship fashion and luxury store openings over the last month.
The most impressive of these stores is the new Miu Miu Beijing flagship – the brand’s biggest in China, which has just opened in the Sanlitun North Village shopping complex. Miu Miu now joins a stellar line up of prestigious brands who have all built mega-stores to create one of the most impressive luxury brand environments anywhere on earth. DSquared, Comme de Garcons, Christian Louboutin, Emporio Armani, Moncler, Montblanc, Marni, Alexander McQueen and Versace, to name a few, all have their flagship stores in the complex, many of which are the biggest in the world.
Meanwhile, as the first wave of leases from tenants that entered in 2008 have began to expire, the Sanlitun South Village complex has also been upgrading their tenant mix. New brands to open include Benefit Cosmetics, Stella Luna and a massive store by Hong Kong multi-brand retailer and distributor – i.t.
The I.T. Group has become the dominant player brining Japanese brands into China and even bought a controlling stake in famous Japanese brand BAPE last year. I.T.’s new Sanlitun store is the first Mainland China home of Japanese multi-brand store BEAMS and Journal Standard.
Operating multi-brand stores in two formats – big ‘I.T’ for high-end brands, and little ‘i.t’ for the mid-end segment, the Group’s ever growing brand stable allows I.T. great leverage with mall developers as they can bring in so many brands to fill spaces. In Sanlitun North and South villages, I.T Group operated stores alone account for around 20% of all the retail space.
The other significant Beijing mall story has been the opening of Park View Green. Now one of China’s top ranked green buildings – the Park View Green project contains a boutique luxury hotel, high-grade office building and mid to high-end shopping mall. Brands such as IWC, Breitling, and Dunhill (including a Dunhill restaurant), Karren Millen and Ted Baker, have all just opened large flagship stores there.
While the major store opening in Beijing for 2013 is likely to be Galleries Lafayette next September, to keep up with new competition, the city’s top luxury malls Shin Kong Place and China World Mall will both undergo major renovations and changes to their tenant mixes over the next 18 months.
Keep an eye out through 2013 and into 2014 for more brands to open their biggest global stores in Beijing to tap into China’s still insatiable consumers. After all, Beijing is ranked the no. 1 city in China for wealthy residents, even ahead of Shanghai that only placed third.