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Kate Spade Plans 15 Units in Asian Expansion

HONG KONG — Kate Spade has signed a distribution deal with Hong Kong-based Globalluxe Limited that will see 15 retail spaces open in Asia during the next three years.<br><br>The first, an 1,800-square-foot flagship, opened last week in Hong Kong....

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HONG KONG — Kate Spade has signed a distribution deal with Hong Kong-based Globalluxe Limited that will see 15 retail spaces open in Asia during the next three years.

The first, an 1,800-square-foot flagship, opened last week in Hong Kong. “This is the first store in Asia to have the beauty line,” said Globalluxe president and chief executive David Ting, “It hasn’t even been launched yet in Japan.”

The store has more than fragrance going for it. Scoring a corner location in one of the busiest malls in Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong’s premiere shopping and tourist spot, is a coup. Its neighbors include Bottega Veneta, Anteprima, Joyce Beauty and Vivienne Tam.

“Hong Kong is a tough place. Even though there’s a supposed economic downturn, it’s hard to get space,” Ting said. He will travel to Korea, Taiwan and Singapore to cement locations in those countries. Those, along with a second Hong Kong store, should bow next year.

This store carries the complete Kate Spade handbag and shoe collection as well as some stationary items, small leathergoods, eyewear, baby bags and the fragrance line. The space, which is painted white and filled with Piet Mondrian-inspired grid display cases, is brightly lit and minimalist. It boasts such whimsical props as vintage magazines and books, ethnic pottery and colorful flowers. Like all Kate Spade stores, it was conceived by New York’s Rogers Marvel Architects.

The shop is divided into two main spaces, one for handbags and luggage, the other for shoes. Each section has its own entrance and the corridor between is covered with reproduction yellow-rose wallpaper. “It’s the same paper that Kate has in her house in the Hamptons,” Ting noted. The wallpaper will be used in all Kate Spade stores to open from now on. Other materials include limestone shelves, dark wood and a linen-covered settee.

Ting declined to estimate expected volume for the store, but sources in the area said stores of this nature typically need to generate around $1,500 to $2,300 a square foot annually to attain profitability, putting yearly sales for the Spade store somewhere between $2.7 million and $4 million. Ting said, “We would never sacrifice the long-term potential of this brand for short-term revenue. I’m more interested in brand-building than turnover.”

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