By  on November 25, 2010

MILAN — Giorgio Armani SpA has launched an Emporio Armanionline store in China, becoming the first western fashion brand to openan official e-commerce site in the country, according to those involvedin the project. The site, emporioarmani.cn, is powered by Italian onlineretailer Yoox.

Giorgio Armani said the growing importance ofthe Chinese online market prompted him to launch the site, which wasunveiled Friday. The company “identified a significant group of fashionconsumers who will certainly appreciate this new approach to shopping,one that becomes more popular every day,” the designer said.

Inaddition to Emporio collections for men and for women, the store willalso carry the EA7 sports line, a selection of the Armani Jeanscollections, accessories, watches, eyewear and jewelry.

The sitewill be entirely adapted to the market in terms of language andcustomer care, size conversions, payment systems and currency. Therealso will be specifically branded bags and packaging.

“Ourrelationship with Emporio Armani has grown since 2007 when we launchedtheir online flagship store in the U.S., followed in 2008 by the EU andJapan in 2009,” said Federico Marchetti, chairman and founder of Yoox.“This exciting new chapter in China is the result of our two teamsworking in tandem for almost a year to be the first to enter the world’sbiggest e-commerce market.”

This online retail project wasspecifically developed for China and includes technology and interfacedesign. Yoox has set up a Chinese subsidiary, which it controls, with anoffice and a logistics center in Shanghai, equipped with digitalproduction studios for cataloguing activities and photographic services,in charge of all related Web management and marketing.

Armani’s2009 sales totaled 1.5 billion euros, or $2.09 billion at averageexchange for the period. Revenue in China jumped 32 percent last year,when the company explored second- and third-tier cities and made retailstatements in Shanghai and Beijing. The Italian house predicts futuregrowth in the country for the current year.

Yoox, which islisted on the Milan Stock Exchange, manages 23 e-commerce sites fordesigner brands such as Marni, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, AlbertaFerretti and Pucci. In the first nine months of the year, sales rose41.2 percent to 150.8 million euros, or $199 million at averageexchange.

The company also has a multibrand division, whichcomprises the Yoox.com and Thecorner.com online stores. The latter willbe launched in China by the end of 2011, followed by Yoox.com in 2012.

Referring to China, Marchetti told WWD earlier this month that thecompany “intends to extend its existing working partnerships with someof the most prestigious fashion and luxury brands in the world, adoptinga full-price strategy and a high-end positioning in the market.”

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