By  on February 2, 1994

NEW YORK -- Buoyed by the early success of its first Taiwan store, Joyce Boutiques Holdings of Hong Kong is eyeing other Pacific Rim sites where it can grow over the next few years.

Roberto Dominici, managing director, identified Thailand as the immediate goal. The company, whose stores are all upscale, will open a 7,000-square-foot Emporio Armani in Bangkok this month. If it does well, Joyce expects to open a World of Joyce department store, a Donna Karan boutique and a DKNY shop within two years, Dominici said.

The entire region is emerging, said Dominici, especially Thailand.

"Thai men and women have a very sophisticated fashion taste," he noted, "and they already come to us in Hong Kong to shop. Now we are bringing our stores to them."

Dominici said the company's second World of Joyce department store, which opened in Taipei in September, already accounts for 12 percent of overall Joyce sales. At 38,000 square feet, it is more than twice the size of the original World of Joyce, which is 16,000 square feet, and opened in Hong Kong in 1992.

Dominici was interviewed here last month during the National Retail Federation annual convention.

In the last fiscal year, ended March 31, Joyce had sales of $71.6 million.

In the current fiscal year, sales for the first half ended Sept. 30 were about $40 million. Profits in the half rose 130 percent, to $3 million. Dominici attributed the growth to a strong demand for designer apparel in Hong Kong and Taipei. With the new additions, he projected that the company, which includes a publishing division, could reach $110 million in overall sales this year.

Last year, Joyce branched from its Hong Kong cradle, where it already operates five Joyce Boutiques and more than 25 specialty stores under such designer names as Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Genny. Besides the Taipei World of Joyce, the company opened its first store in China -- a DKNY that opened in November in Shenzhen.

World of Joyce stores feature women's, men's and children's apparel and accessories, home products -- including linens and furniture -- gifts, a florist, a bistro and an apothecary, with fragrances, bath and body products.Dominici said the company plans more stores in China and is investigating the Philippines for possible expansion in 1995.

The Joyce credit card has been a good financial instrument and marketing tool for the company, Dominici said. In two years, its list has grown to 28,000 clients.

"It lets us know the spending patterns of our customers," he said. "In return, they receive the Joyce newsletter and magazine." The card will be introduced this year in Taiwan and Thailand.

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