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“Hong Kong has a different approach to fashion. The merchandise is the basics, the same as everywhere, but the age is younger than in the U.S. and Europe, like aged 20 to 40,” she explained. In China, “we are babies compared to the other designers, but the growth has been immediate.”
Added Ruella, “China is a great opportunity, a big market….It is the right time to come directly to China, in my opinion. With the number of people here, business of course will be big. We are a lucky company because we did not come many years ago. These years the companies here lost a lot of money, because only now is the market here more ready for luxury.”
The firm expects to see a return on its China investment within three years. There are still no plans to launch its secondary line, D&G, in China, however.
“Especially for a new market, customers need to first understand what is Dolce & Gabbana, and later, once that is established, we can introduce D&G,” Ruella explained. “It takes three or four seasons, then there’s the opportunity for D&G. Approaching a new market, we start at a higher level.”
Ruella added the brand plans to open stores in Guangzhou and Shenzhen by 2008. “The group’s expansion strategy for China is based on steady and balanced growth. For the Dolce & Gabbana brand, the group focuses on remaining super prestigious and high quality while expanding into the market, with special attention paid to the timing, location, service and management of stores,” she detailed. “Maintaining exclusivity and a complete focus on directly controlled retail operations are integral parts of the group’s expansion strategy.”