Louis Vuitton Opens in China’s No. 1 Mall
Last Friday night, Beijing’s Shin Kong Place – the top ranking mall in China in terms sales, welcomed its newest luxury resident Louis Vuitton. The cocktail reception saw more than a few celebrities including Fan Bing Bing, Carina Lau, Sun Li, Li Zhiting, Hu Bing and Wu Xiubo join Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke for the official opening ceremony. Other attendees included VIP customers who busied themselves with shopping and some regular Beijing fashion scenesters who busied themselves with the champagne.
According to Milward Brown’s annual brand study, Louis Vuitton is the world’s most valuable fashion and luxury brand, and whether it be exhibiting their brand heritage, opening new stores, or building their very own steam trains, LV’s events are always impressive.
The Shin Kong Place LV store is unique in that it only stocks women’s wear and women’s accessories to cater to the strong female clientele in the mall. For now, gents will have to venture to one of LV’s four other locations in Beijing to get their fashion fix.
Shin Kong Place (SKP) is a phenomenon for luxury retailing in China. It’s China’s top mall by far, with 2012 sales performance reaching 72 billion Renminbi (1.17 billion USD) according to one report posted on Weibo. Yet, unlike China’s other top luxury malls, SKP doesn’t boast an architectural wonders or flashy façade designs. What it does have is a highly qualified customer base, high footfall and a CRM program that is best-in-class. Its also been the only mall in Beijing to be part of the official program of China fashion Week.
SKP is also a perfect example of the tumultuous nature of luxury retail in Beijing and despite stellar sales, in the past the Mall has also been a cause of great frustration for many retailers.
Opene in time for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, SKP was originally a joint venture between a Chinese and Taiwanese mall developer/operator. Before too long the two sides started fighting for control and the issue eventually ended up in the Chinese courts where a long legal battle ensued. Meanwhile sales continued to soar and more and more brands started begging for a space in the mall. However, with the mall’s management tied up in the courts, no decisions could be made and so renovations, lease renewals and other matters remained at a standstill for several years. In 2011 Burberry closed their SKP store and opened their biggest store in Asia directly across the road.
The legal battle has since been settled and over the last year a large-scale repositioning of the mall has began. While many of the world’s top brands still wait in line for space, LVMH has assumed a commanding position in the complex with Bulgari, Celine, Debeers, Chaumet, Dior, Dior Homme, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Loewe and now LV all part of the brand mix.
Kering Group represents with Gucci’s Beijing flagship (currently being revamped) and separate men’s and women’s stores for Bottega Veneta.
Bally, Coach, DVF, Kiton, MCM, Prada, Versace and Zegna are just some of the other incumbents in the mall. With a deliberately limited store network across the whole country and only two other locations in Beijing, Chanel’s flagship store in SKP is also a major draw card for Chinese shoppers.
For any high-end brand in China, Shin Kong Place is a mall you must be in!
From the Weibo report, China top 5 malls for sales turnover in 2012 are:
(numbers in RMB billions)
1. Shin Kong Place – Beijing 72
2. Guangzhou Grandview Mall 60
3. Hangzhou Tower – 59
4. Guangzhou Tee Mall 55
5. Shenzhen MixC 55