MORE IN STORE: While retailers around the world settle into retrenchment mode, SMCP, the owner of Maje, Sandro and Claudie Pierlot, is on a different track, opening its 100th shop in China, with plans for more.
Store number 100 is a Maje boutique in the Chaoyang Joy City mall.
“It’s gone by very quickly in mainland China — our first store opened at the end of 2013 — it hasn’t been five years yet,” said chief executive officer Daniel Lalonde in a telephone interview.
The French company is controlled by Chinese textile conglomerate Shandong Ruyi Group and was listed on the French stock market last October, a move intended to fund debt payments and fuel international expansion.
Despite the fast-paced growth, the company still counts fewer stores than other luxury brands in China, added Lalonde, noting that Sandro and Maje each have around 45 stores. At just over 1,000 square feet, the stores are typically smaller than those of larger luxury labels, he added.
“We’re a little bit at the beginning of the story,” noted Lalonde who has plans to have as many stores in greater China as has in France, which counts nearly 500, within the next five to seven years.
The brands are sold on Tmall, and since last fall, on their own web sites as well. The two channels are complementary, according to Lalonde, noting the large traffic flows on Tmall.
Traffic to the brands’ own sites is driven by WeChat, he added.
“We’ve been very happy with the growth online and offline,” he said, noting the Parisian chic channeled by the brands is popular with Chinese customers.