MOVING NORTH: Singapore’s Crocodile International Pte. Ltd. plans to move its headquarters to Shanghai as it focuses on China’s ever-expanding market, according to China’s state-run China Daily newspaper. Crocodile plans to invest about $12 million in a new Crocodile building in Shanghai, set to begin construction in June.
The newspaper said Crocodile also plans to increase its investment in factories in China, where it says sales last year totaled $242 million.
Crocodile’s China plans follow its recent court victory over rival retailer Lacoste. The two companies have been locked in legal battles for the past two years over their similar logos, both of which use a crocodile. Lacoste’s faces right, while Crocodile’s faces left. A Shanghai court ordered Lacoste to pay $1 and apologize to Crocodile for copyright infringement in a lawsuit Crocodile filed in response to a suit Lacoste had filed in March 2002. Lacoste says the real legal battle is still pending. But the court case has fueled speculation that Lacoste may pull out of China altogether. — David Hall
GROWING SHOE SIZE: Organizers of the China International Footwear Fair have said they expect exhibition space at this year’s event to reach 35,000 square feet, a 50 percent increase over last year. The show, which combines the fashion fair Moda Shanghai with CIFF and the All China Leather Exhibition, will take place in Shanghai Sept. 1-3. Last year, the events attracted 700 exhibiting companies and more than 12,000 visitors. Zhang Shuhua, vice president of the China Leather Industry Association, said she expects to see “increased participation by manufacturers of sports shoes and sneakers, in addition to leather shoes, which took a leading position in the past.” In 2003, China exported shoes valued at $12.5 billion, making it the world’s largest exporter of footwear. — Constance Haisma-Kwok
TWINS ABROAD: Seiyu Ltd. said it will begin selling the Mary Kate and Ashley brand — including sportswear, activewear, fashion accessories, bags and cosmetics — in its 90 stores this summer in collaboration with its licensor, Dualstar Entertainment Group of Los Angeles. Seiyu, a major supermarket chain of which Wal-Mart is now the largest shareholder, said it also is planning to add for sale here such merchandise as bedding, sleepwear and dolls, as well as entertainment products such as videos, DVDs, books and CDs.
Seiyu said it is confident the brand — which has already been successful in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, France, Germany and Israel — is certain to see the same success in Japan. It’s also likely to be launched in other markets, such as South Korea, China, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Italy. Mary Kate and Ashley already are widely known among Japanese children and teenagers through exposure on Japanese television programs for two and a half years. — Tsukasa Furukawa