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.
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.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)