Fendi says time is right for expansion of watch sales in China

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Despite the global economic slowdown, Italian luxury fashion house Fendi SRL is strengthening its presence in China’s watch market and plans to open more stores in second- and third-tier cities across the country.

Domenico Oliveri, CEO of Fendi Timepieces, said the watch brand is bullish about the prospects for the luxury market in China, and believes there is huge potential for growth as consumers’ spending power is growing.

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“The Chinese market is very important for the luxury business and I hope the success of Fendi in China could expand to Fendi Timepieces,” said Oliveri, adding that Chinese customers are very mature, conscious of trends and willing to spend money buying luxury goods worldwide.

However, sales of luxury goods in China have declined, falling from 115 billion yuan ($17.7 billion) in 2014 to 113 billion yuan last year, consulting firm Bain & Co said. The decline was seen in sales of menswear and watches, which were down by 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Despite these tough conditions, Oliveri remains optimistic about the Chinese luxury market, saying that there is a lot of room for further development.

Oliveri said Fendi Timepieces will increase its investment in China and open more stores in second- and third-tier cities or provincial capitals.

Founded in 1925 in Rome, LVMH-owned Fendi now covers fur, leather goods, shoes, fragrances, eyewear, timepieces and accessories.

It entered the watch business in 1988. In 2014, it acquired Swiss watchmaker Taramax SA, which has produced the luxury accessory house’s watches under license. All of Fendi’s watches are manufactured in Switzerland.

With the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and its expanding middle class, Swiss luxury watches are gaining popularity in China. At present, China is the third-largest market for the Swiss watch industry.

According to statistics from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the value of Swiss watch exports to the world dropped 3.3 percent in 2015 to 21.5 billion Swiss francs ($21.6 billion), the worst performance in the past six years.

By Fan Feifei Courtesy China Daily

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