By  on December 13, 2006

HONG KONG — Gucci has officially opened its new flagship here, the company's largest store in Asia outside of Japan. The Hong Kong opening follows the debut of Gucci's new Tokyo store and headquarters in Ginza, and marks a significant investment in the region for the company.

Mark Lee, Gucci's chief executive officer, said the time and place are perfect. "We've been growing steadily and the fastest growth in the world has been coming from Asia-Pacific," said Lee during a tour of the new flagship. "Hong Kong is really the heart of Asia-Pacific — it always has been and remains so."

And the Asia-Pacific is increasingly important for the brand. Gucci sales in the region, excluding Japan, rose 28.5 percent last year to 373.8 million euros, or $497.1 million at current exchange, compared with 297.2 million euros, or $395.3 million, in 2004.

The store is located in The Landmark, Central Dis­trict's premier luxury retail center. Over the last five years the building has been transformed by developer Hongkong Land and now boasts numerous high-end flagships, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Harvey Nichols. Gucci was one of the mall's original tenants when it opened some 25 years ago. Prior to the flagship, the brand had two smaller stores in The Landmark, one for women's wear and the other for men's wear.

The new Gucci store, which takes up 11,000 square feet over two levels, is in a prime corner location, with three facades: two facing the street and one inside the mall. "Hong Kong is one of the really sophisticated, ‘downtown' cities of the world," said Lee. "This was a real opportunity to do real facades, with big windows and really give a presence."

The look of the store echoes the flagship in Ginza but with some differences. Both stores employ the same roller-pattern glass made in Germany and boast a softer, warmer look than previous Gucci boutiques. "In Hong Kong, we have a different interpretation of the same materials [as used in Tokyo]," said Lee, adding that the new look might or might not roll out to other Gucci stores around the world. "This concept has been developed for Landmark and for Ginza and now we'll see. These were really specially done based on the unique configurations of the space and the facades. I don't think there will be any other stores in the world quite like these. We'll see how we adapt these elements, if we adapt them."

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