By  on December 12, 2011

Coach Inc. said Monday it will open its first online store in China for one month on e-commerce site Taobao Mall.

The online store, which will be operative from Dec. 12 through Jan. 15, will commemorate the accessories brand’s 70th anniversary. The online store will offer accessories and gift items as well as some Taobao exclusives and limited edition products.

“The new store will help us increase our understanding of the needs and preferences of China’s online shoppers, helping us accumulate valuable experience in China’s e-commerce landscape and gaining insights to potentially pave the way for the development and launch of a permanent online Coach store in China,” said Jonathan Seliger, Coach China’s president and chief executive officer.

Coach is taking significant steps to boost its presence in China. The company just listed depository receipts on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Last month Coach brought its birthday celebrations to Beijing, holding aphotography exhibition and flying in brand ambassador Gwyneth Paltrow to sing a few numbers.

Last month, Seliger said the company plans to open 30 stores on the Mainland over the next few years and aims to be one of the top three foreign handbag and accessory brands in the country with a target of $500 million in sales and a 10 percent share of the luxury handbag and accessories market by fiscal year 2014.

The brand has 71 locations across Greater China, including 57 stores on the Mainland.Sales in China for the 2011 fiscal year totaled more than $185 million.

Seliger said the brand is seeing strong growth from male consumers on the Mainland, especially in second- and third-tier cities where some retail locations are experiencing up to 40 percent of sales generated from Coach’s men’s collection, which was launched in China about a year and a half ago. In some markets, such as Xiamen, a coastal city in southern China, Coach has opened dual gender stores to cater to its growing base of male clientele.

“We really have not invested in that [men’s] business in China,” he said. “We are getting some great feedback. I think it is a great way for us to accelerate our brand awareness.”

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