LONDON — Jimmy Choo is taking control of its Mainland China business.
This story first appeared in the October 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The London-based brand has acquired the business from Kutu, the distribution partner with which it has been working since 2009.
The transaction will close in the fourth quarter, with direct operations beginning this month.
“China is a vital market for Jimmy Choo, where we have ample opportunity for growth,” said Pierre Denis, the company’s chief executive officer. “Having control in the market will allow us to further develop the brand and our business and become closer to our customers in the region.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Jimmy Choo (Shanghai) Trading Co. Ltd., which was founded this year, will assume direct responsibility for the region’s retail operations. It will be managed by Wannie Suen, president of Jimmy Choo Asia, who is based in Hong Kong.
There are 36 Jimmy Choo stores in the Asia region, including in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
Jimmy Choo entered Mainland China in 2007 under a distribution agreement with On Pedder, and began operations in 2009 with Kutu. Since then, the brand’s retail footprint has grown to include three stores: at Shanghai’s Plaza 66, Beijing’s China World and Nanjing’s Deji Plaza.
An additional four stores will open within the next few months, bringing the total number in Mainland China to seven. There are plans to open up to 30 stores in the coming years, the company confirmed.
Jimmy Choo’s wholesale clients in Mainland China include Lane Crawford and Joyce stores for men’s shoes.
The China deal is part of an ongoing strategy by Jimmy Choo to exert increasing control over its distribution network and make further inroads in the Far East.
In July, Reinhard Mieck, ceo of Jimmy Choo’s parent Labelux, told WWD: “We are under-represented in China and it is a key priority of ours to look at entering that market in the best possible way.”
Last year, Choo bought the remaining 50 percent of a joint venture it had with Bluebell Hong Kong Ltd. for its retail and wholesale operations in that city. It also took full control of its retail business in Japan, which had been a joint venture with Bluebell Japan Ltd.