PARIS — French retail-to-luxury group PPR is in discussions to buy a Chinese brand to boost its presence in the world’s second-largest economy, chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault was quoted as saying in Monday’s edition of the Hong Kong Economic Times.A spokesman for PPR in Paris confirmed that Pinault had made the remark in an interview with several Chinese journalists. Pinault said the talks were at an early stage and an acquisition could be announced by yearend, but he did not provide additional details.PPR plans to shed its retail activities, consisting of mail order division Redcats and books and electronics retailer Fnac, as soon as market conditions permit it to focus on its core luxury and sports and lifestyle divisions. Earlier this year, it completed the purchase of Italian tailor Brioni for an undisclosed sum.Pinault had hinted at his interest in a Chinese brand during a visit to Beijing in September 2011. He was quoted as telling Bloomberg at the time that PPR would be interested in acquiring a Chinese brand “with its own identity. I’ve never seen such an opportunity yet. There’s no reason why it couldn’t happen,” he told the agency.The executive noted in February that young demographics in emerging markets underpin strong growth prospects for branded goods. Recalling a visit to Indonesia, for example, he predicted that it “could become a bigger market for luxury than India,” given the right political will in the nation.Emerging markets accounted for 38 percent of sales in PPR’s luxury division in 2011, and 35 percent of sales in the sports and lifestyle division.Chinese consumers, including their spending as tourists, now account for more than 20 percent of global luxury sales, according to the most recent study from Bain & Co. and Fondazione Altagamma. Despite a slowdown in the pace of Chinese economic growth, sales of luxury goods there are expected to grow between 18 and 22 percent in 2012, compared with an increase of 6 to 7 percent for the sector overall.Leading luxury brands are making significant investments to grab a share of that pie by opening hundreds of stores in Mainland China, and investing in everything from new luxury brands to real estate and e-commerce. Hermès International in 2010 unveiled Shang Xia, a luxury brand created specifically for the Chinese market. Shang Xia has a store in Shanghai and is due to open its second boutique in Paris this fall.Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has joined forces with Macau billionaire Stanley Ho on L’Avenue Shanghai, a $500 million office and upscale shopping complex due to open this year. Arnault made the investment through L Real Estate, a division of investment firm Groupe Arnault.Meanwhile, Mousse Partners, the venture capital firm founded by Chanel Inc. executive Charles Heilbronn, late last year provided seed capital to Chinese e-commerce firm Hui She Shang (The Luxury Club). Heilbronn is a member of the Wertheimer family, which owns Chanel.
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain and preserve my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did or what I represented or created,” said @saintrecords on how being bullied for wearing capri pants inspired her to be the artist she is today. Knowles was at the 70th Parsons Benefit last night where she outbid the room for a Dapper Dan customized @gucci experience. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Dan Doperalski)
Exclusive: Cate Blanchett has been named the first global beauty ambassador for @armanibeauty. Blanchett has been the face of the brand’s Sì fragrance franchise since 2013, and is now representing all of the label’s beauty categories including makeup and skin care. #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)