BIG BUSINESS: Kendall Jenner’s front-row appearance at Shiatzy Chen’s show on Tuesday gave a clue as to where the brand is heading: West.
“Asia is still our biggest market. But everywhere you go, it’s the Chinese doing the shopping. So we have to keep opening more stores,” chief executive officer Harry Wang told WWD over roasted Peking duck, beef tenderloin and blue lobster at the Peninsula Hotel.
“We want to have a store in the U.S.,” he said, “but it’s not easy. The good locations are expensive, and we are a private company. We have to spend our money wisely.”
Chen has visited South Coast Plaza in California and is eyeing Madison Avenue in New York, though he’s open to taking on a partner to facilitate expansion.
“Maybe we need some outside help, I don’t know. We are talking to everybody. LVMH is the only group that doesn’t have a Chinese brand. Hermès has Shang Xia, Richemont has Shanghai Tang, Kering has the jewelry brand Qeelin. Maybe they are interested, maybe Chanel is interested, I don’t know,” he mused, noting luxury scion Antoine Arnault attended Tuesday’s show at his invitation.
Chen said a London store was in the works for next year, with Singapore and the Middle East next on his agenda. “We would also like to add a second location in Paris, preferably on Avenue Montaigne. The problem in Paris is the key money. It costs million just to get the right to rent,” he lamented.
The brand, which generates annual sales just south of $80 million according to Chen, expects to move from just over 70 stores to a total of 170 retail outlets by 2020, helped by strong expansion at home, which will see 10 new openings in 2016, adding to a total of 38 boutiques in the region.
Three new units are planned for Japan, the first of which is slated to open on Oct. 14.