WWD.com/beauty-industry-news/financial/saks-fifth-avenue-hits-roadblock-in-china-503462/
government-trade
government-trade

Saks Fifth Avenue Hits Roadblock in China

Roosevelt China Investment Corp., which is licensed to open Saks Fifth Avenue in China, said Friday it had terminated its sublicense agreement with I.T. Ltd., the company designated to operate the Saks unit.

NEW YORK — Roosevelt China Investment Corp., which is licensed to open Saks Fifth Avenue in China, said Friday it had terminated its sublicense agreement with I.T. Ltd., the company designated to operate the Saks unit.

“While we have terminated the arrangement with I.T., we continue to seek an alliance with local market experts and remain committed to opening a licensed Saks Fifth Avenue store in Shanghai in 2009,” Tweed Roosevelt, chairman of Roosevelt China Corp., said in a statement.

Saks Fifth Avenue will be housed in an historic building in Shanghai on the Bund. It will be the chain’s largest store other than the New York flagship, with 300,000 square feet and four levels. Roosevelt said the building would be “fully renovated to its original grandeur with a flagship presence.”

Despite the snag in Shanghai, Roosevelt China Investments is already considering additional licensed Saks stores in Beijing, Macao and other cities in China. “We love our location on the Bund, but our goal is to bring Saks Fifth Avenue to all the major cities in China,” said Roosevelt. Saks is the first retail venture for Roosevelt China Investments, a private international investment company. Tweed Roosevelt is the great-grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt and a cousin of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“Our relationship with Roosevelt remains intact, and they are committed to opening the licensed Saks Fifth Avenue store in Shanghai in 2009,” said Julia Bentley, senior vice president of investor relations and communications at Saks Inc., the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Saks originally planned a 2008 opening for the Shanghai store, in time for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but said that shortly after an announcement last spring, the opening was pushed to 2009.

“We terminated the I.T. sublicense agreement because we could not come to business terms with I.T., but this has had no effect on our strategy as Roosevelt China Investments remains very positive about the development of Saks Fifth Avenue in China,” said Tin Tse, president of Roosevelt China Investment Corp.

In other overseas expansion, Saks has a licensing agreement with Grupo Sanborns, a diversified retailer and mall operator in Mexico, to open a store in the Santa Fe Shopping Center in Mexico City next September.

This story first appeared in the March 12, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Under its four-year-old international strategy, Saks has launched two Middle East stores, in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.