Ferragamo Celebrates 80th Anniversary in Shanghai

At the opening of the exhibition "Salvatore Ferragamo: Evolving Legend 1928-2008" on Friday at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, the biggest crowd-pleaser wasn't the collectable bags...

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Ferragamo has 25 stores in 18 cities on the Mainland, adding six stores in 2007 and eight in 2008. Ferragamo also has six duty free stores in Chinese airports, one each in Guangzhou and Dalian, and it just opened second outlets in the new terminals in Beijing and Shanghai, with the latter more than 1,000 square feet. "What is doing extremely well is the business in the airports," Norsa enthused. "The number of passengers is growing so fast. I expect [the new shops] will be doing tremendous business."

While the company has only two stores in Shanghai — in The Ritz-Carlton on Nanjing Road and Times Square on Huaihai Road — two more are in the works for before 2010. In Beijing, Ferragamo has four stores, two added last year at Shinkong Plaza and Seasons Place. An older Beijing store in China World "remains our best-performing store by square meter," Norsa said. "As usual in China, customers don't move very fast to the new stores — [as] I've seen over the past 15 years. But in recent months, sales at those have picked up significantly....Our stores in China break even very fast. Stores have long opening hours, and 365 days a year. I see a lot of traffic and a lot of young customers."

Like many luxury brands in China, Ferragamo is shifting its focus to second-tier and inland cities. The brand's other top-performing stores include Hangzhou Tower, in the capital of the wealthy coastal Zhejiang Province, and one in Chengdu, in the western Sichuan Province. "What Ferragamo has always done is pioneering, entering the market very early, so if you get to a lot of new cities and get visible, you get more customers. In most of these cases you can also get a very nice store frontage, you can get a facade, you can have billboards, which is also one of our goals, to communicate in China, which is not so easy with the traditional media, magazines and newspapers," Norsa observed.

In Kunming, one of several cities where Ferragamo is opening stores this year, "We used to have a very small store, but there are new shopping malls and department stores, where Gucci is opening up, and we found a very nice corner space on the street with three windows. I was very impressed with the spending power of these cities, like even Xian, Chengdu. And I think that what is important is there are lots of people who can afford luxury goods but do not really travel so often, people who are not speaking languages, if they travel even by plane, they travel for a day, for business. So I think it's very, very important [to be there]."
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