HONG KONG — Alfred Dunhill is working to get back to its roots.
Although the brand is British, Dunhill derives the majority of its sales from Asia, where it operates about 150 stores, excluding Japan. And while Asia continues to be an area of focus, the company is also seeking to bolster its business in Europe and North America.
“Asian people, particularly Chinese, are traveling a lot, so it’s crucial for them to see Dunhill in Europe and the U.S. as strong as it is in China. Also, it’s important for the company to be well-balanced all over the world,” said Fabrizio Cardinali, chief executive officer.
To strengthen its presence, the company is planning more store openings, including a unit in Osaka, Japan early next year that will feature a new store concept. Dunhill is also planning to add stores in Paris, Milan and New York over the next two to three years. Cardinali said he couldn’t reveal much about the new concept yet, but it would be rolled out to all stores eventually over the next several years.
Chinese luxury spending is under pressure from antigraft measures and a slowing economic climate, so luxury brands, particularly those in watches, jewelry and men’s wear, have been looking at new strategies.
Dunhill, owned by Swiss luxury goods group Compagnie Financière Richemont, is in the midst of a turnaround — the latest in several attempts over the last 15 years. The company installed a new management team about 18 months ago, including Cardinali, who was previously ceo of the Richemont-owned brand Lancel. Dunhill also brought in designer John Ray, the former creative director of men’s wear for Gucci, a new chief financial officer, chief of supply chain and more.
“We are working very hard to bring Dunhill to the next level where it deserves to be,” said Cardinali, emphasizing that the company is focusing on improving the product, ramping up marketing and improving distribution.
One area Cardinali is keen on is creating a “well-balanced” men’s wear collection that includes a wider variety of price points, in line with what other luxury brands are doing. Suits, for instance, are offered in three tiers: entry level, which would range from 1,500 to 1,800 euros, or $1,588 to $1,900; medium-priced, which would be about 2,000 to 2,700 euros, or $2,117 to $2,858, and high-priced at 2,700 euros, or $2,858, and up. To ramp up the brand’s marketing, the company has shot campaigns with photographer Annie Leibovitz and advertising more in magazines to present Dunhill as a lifestyle brand. It’s also focusing on enhancing its distribution and evaluating its retail locations.
“Everything we have been doing so far, we respect the DNA of the brand,” he said.
Cardinali and Ray were in Hong Kong to host a dinner at the White Cube gallery on Thursday. In attendance were rising Korean actor Ji Chang-Wook and Hong Kong actor Julian Cheung.