NEW YORK – Tiffany & Co. is expanding its reach, in an effort to further transition from “an American jewelry label” to “global luxury brand.”
The retailer opened its first stores in Chile and Thailand within the last week, markets that the New York-based jeweler has isolated as having upward potential in the fashion jewelry and bridal categories. The former category, it hopes, will have an even larger sales impact following the recent relaunch of the “Return to Tiffany” collection.
Tiffany opened its 2,690-square-foot Santiago unit on Thursday within the Mall Parque Arauco luxury shopping center. Its primary objectives for the space are to reach South American tourists and tap into the Chilean culture’s growing appetite for engagement rings. “The engagement ceremony is not as developed here, but we see the new generation more and more looking at it and seeing value in it,” said Tiffany’s Latin American vice president, Luciano Rodembusch.
Rodembusch projects that the Santiago store could eventually be ranked as the sixth or seventh highest-volume unit that Tiffany operates in Latin America. Building the store’s clientele will include outreach to tourists. “Chile is the winter stop of Brazil, so on top of catering to locals in Chile, we think we will be able to connect with Brazilians on vacation,” he said.
Rodembusch praised the Chilean authorities on its organization in welcoming international operations, and said Tiffany’s transition into the country has been “very straightforward, probably one of the easiest countries to operate in [within South America]. I think its process of passing through customs is very clear and unique in Latin America.”
The brand’s Thai operations officially opened for business on Wednesday in Bangkok. Tiffany’s Asia-Pacific group vice president, Marc Jacheet, said Thailand was the next logical operation for the division because “there is a craftsmanship and an attention to beauty and style that makes Thai women particularly attracted to jewelry.” He added that Thailand’s status as a tourist destination primes the country to be “one of the most dynamic markets within Asia. It’s a place extremely appealing for Europeans, Russians, people from all over the world – it’s an underlying strength that will only strengthen.”
Like in Chile, Tiffany feels there is tremendous opportunity for bridal jewelry to have an impact on Thai culture – looking outside Western cultures, where engagement ring purchases have plateaued, in order to achieve upward growth. “This is a place where a wedding gathers hundreds if not thousands of people – it’s a moment when the amount of attention and finances invested becomes very emotional,” said Jacheet. “Being the absolute leader in the engagement category, I believe we have a very broad and exciting perspective.”