Hong Kong shines for Sandro Asia

Paris-based affordable luxury fashion chain Sandro Asia, along with sister brand Maje and Claudie Pierlot, recorded 51 per cent year-on-year growth in Asia Pacific in the first six months of the year.

Sandro opened its largest Asia flagship store in the heart of Causeway Bay in August, and plans to double the size of its year-old store in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City.

This store quickly became the most lucrative of Sandro’s 410 retail outlets worldwide in terms of sales per square metre. In contrast, total tenant sales at Harbour City fell 14.7 per cent to HK$13.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) in the first half, according to financial filings by its parent company Wharf Holdings.

Sandro now has eight outlets in Hong Kong, and plans to add another two or three more by the end of next year.

Branding its products as “accessible luxuries”, Sandro’s CEO Jean-Philippe Hecquet says the segment became “very powerful” when people started to look inside their wallets.

Hecquet, who previously worked for luxury group LVMH, says upper-middle-class consumers still want to enjoy their life even with less money. “They still want to buy luxury products, for sure.”

Sandro’s launched in Hong Kong in 2012, and Hecquet admits it may have missed the “golden age” when mainland shoppers would queue up outside Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton outlets. But he says that while business is slowing for the traditional luxury brands, “we still see very decent traffic”.

He believes the emerging young upper-middle class in Asia will be the future powerhouse for luxury goods, and the right time to expand is now. Hong Kong’s retail downturn has freed up more prime retail space and rents are going down. “We have been waiting for a long time to be able to open a flagship,” says Hecquet.

He says the average age of Sandro’s customers in Hong Kong is between 25 and 30 years, and mainland visitors contribute to a significant portion of sales.

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