MILAN — Kering Eyewear is opening its first official flagship store on JD.com.The Chinese online retailer will offer its 292 million customers a selection of optical frames and sunglasses produced by Kering Eyewear, including Gucci, Cartier, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Brioni, Altuzarra, Alaïa, Boucheron, Pomellato, Puma, McQ, Christopher Kane and Tomas Maier.Richard Liu, chairman and chief executive officer of JD.com, praised the eyewear company’s “commitment to timeless quality and elegance,” expecting to “maximize its potential in China.” Under the terms of the strategic partnership, JD.com will act as the authorized distributor of Kering Eyewear products across the market.Roberto Vedovotto, president and ceo of Kering Eyewear, said that because “China is a booming market for e-commerce sales and a region with a high growth potential in the luxury segment, it was a natural choice to partner with this trusted and innovative player. The new flagship will focus on delivering a unique shopping experience to the local clientele.” Kering first revealed it was taking production of its eyewear in-house in the fall of 2014. The following year, it unveiled headquarters dedicated to the category located in a 16th-century Renaissance villa outside Padua for its design, research, product development and supply chain management. The venue stands near key eyewear production districts Cadore and Belluno, as well as Valdobbiadene and Treviso, in northeastern Italy.JD.com bills itself as the largest e-commerce company in China, and the largest Chinese retailer by revenue. As of Dec. 31, it operated seven fulfillment centers and 486 warehouses across China, staffed by its own employees.As reported earlier this month, JD.com recorded its first full year of profitability of $18 million for 2017, thanks to strong growth in its top line, which saw revenue jump 40.3 percent year-over-year.The past few months have been a particularly busy season for JD.com. Aside from pouring in $2.5 billion into its logistics unit last month, it struck joint ventures with flash-sales site Vipshop in December, and online fashion retailer Meili at the start of the year. Both partnerships are to launch this month.Its other deals include a tie-up with Wanda shopping malls. With majority shareholder Tencent and Suning Holdings, JD.com backed the $5.4 billion investment to help complete an omnichannel retailing solution.It also struck a partnership with Fung Group exploring artificial intelligence in February. Looking ahead to 2018, JD.com is expecting more subdued but still significant revenue growth of 30 percent to 33 percent.
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