By  on May 14, 2007

LONDON — Stella McCartney has inked a long-term, exclusive agreement with the Lane Crawford Joyce Group to distribute the brand's clothing and accessories in key Far Eastern markets.

Stella McCartney president and chief executive Marco Bizzarri said Lane Crawford Joyce will open 10 freestanding stores and shop-in-shops over the first five years of the agreement.

The focus, initially, will be on greater China, but the group also will seek to expand in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Bizzarri said the Far East could generate 20 to 25 percent of the label's turnover in three years' time.

"The Lane Crawford Joyce Group is one of the most powerful companies in Asia, and they have access to some of the best store locations there. We were already selling to customers in the Far East, but we needed local partners to expand. They've already found good locations for the Stella McCartney stores, and we're going to see some units opening very, very quickly," he said.

Bonnie Brooks, president of the Hong Kong-based group, said the growth potential of Stella McCartney in Asia is enormous.

"Our track record of successful brand launches and our regional network will provide Stella McCartney with the competitive advantage it seeks in Asia as it continues its worldwide expansion," she said.

McCartney and her team will be in Hong Kong on Wednesday for trunk shows, the press launches of the Stella McCartney skin care line and the introduction of the designer's latest activewear collection for Adidas. On Wednesday night, McCartney will host a VIP dinner at the members-only China Club, and on Thursday, Lane Crawford will host a big party for the designer in the Aberdeen Harbour section of town.

PPR, which holds 50 percent of Stella McCartney, recently said the brand was "well in advance" of reaching its break-even target this year.

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