Fendi says time is right for ex­pan­sion of watch sales

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By FAN­FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

“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 thirdtier 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 ofFendi’s watches are­man­u­fac­tured 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 third­largest 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.

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