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August 29, 2009

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Shanghai is home to flagship luxury store

FRENCH luxury brand Louis Vuitton said yesterday it plans to open a 2,000-square-meter flagship store, one of the largest in the world, in Shanghai next year as it continues to expand its presence in the world's second-biggest market for luxury goods.

The store, which will be the largest in China, will be located at Lippo Plaza on downtown Huaihai Road and is due to open before the Shanghai Expo starts in May. It will be the second Louis Vuitton store in the city following the Plaza 66 outlet which opened in September 2004.

"The Lippo Plaza store shows our strong commitment to continue to serve our value to Chinese consumers," said Yves Carcelle, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton Malletier. "With the 2010 Shanghai World Expo drawing close, the opening of Louis Vuitton at Lippo Plaza may also play a vital role in enhancing Shanghai as one of the world's most important commercial hubs."

The contract signing ceremony held yesterday in the city between Louis Vuitton and Lippo Plaza marked a significant achievement in a grand upgrading plan for Huaihai Road, which trails Nanjing Road W., the city's top retail strip.

However, Lippo Plaza hopes the Louis Vuitton store will boost its image as a top-end shopping destination and Lippo officials said Italian men's brand Ermenegildo Zegna will also open an outlet in the building.

"Despite a sharp drop in rents in the first quarter of 2009, the local retail market showed signs of stabilizing in the second quarter," said James MacDonald, senior manager for research at Savills China. "Retailers, despite adopting more cautious expansion plans, remain eager to open stores in well established and reputable locations in prime areas."


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