Brooks Brothers, Walton Brown seal China JV
Brooks Brothers Group, America’s oldest retailer, and Walton Brown Group, have signed a 10 year joint venture to market the brand in Greater China.
A 50/50 joint venture company has been established which will launch in January 2016 for an initial period of 10 years. It will take over the management of Brooks Brothers’ existing retail network of 90 stores in the market territory and plans to open more than 10 points of sale in the first two years across key cities in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
In addition to freestanding stores, the JV will invest deeply in a multi-channel distribution platform providing wholesale, outlets, travel retail and eCommerce channels to bolster brand presence and fuel business growth in the region.
The move comes several months after the announcement by Hong Kong’s Dickson Concepts it would not be renewing its partnership with Brooks Brothers when it expires on December 31.
The two companies in the new JV believe the arrangement will leverage the strengths and capabilities of Walton Brown, a subsidiary of The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, with experience in strategic retail brand management in Greater China with the global appeal of Brooks Brothers, “one of America’s most iconic clothing brands,” augmenting its dynamic growth across the Greater China region.
The partners say that building on the success of Brooks Brothers’ ready-to-wear menswear and accessories collections, the product offerings within its women’s collection and accessories lines will be enhanced with the appointment of influential US designer Zac Posen as the creative director for women’s wear. His first women’s collection will debut in Spring/Summer 2016 and will be available worldwide.
Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers, said the JV will enable Brooks Brothers to develop long-term growth strategies across multiple online and offline distribution channels especially in China, one of its most important growth markets for the global business.
“We are confident in China’s growth prospects in the premium sector for the coming years and this is the optimal time for us to position Brooks Brothers for long term sustainable growth,” said Del Vecchio.
“With Walton Brown’s in-depth local market insights and extensive distribution capabilities and network in retail, we believe we can capture new opportunities to further deepen our relationship with Chinese consumers.”
Walton Brown president Thomson Cheng said that in the 12 years since Brooks Brothers entered China, the brand has built a strong following of customers.
“With the foundation in place, we believe the brand has enormous potential with the new generation of sophisticated and prosperous consumers in China and with the launch of the online business in 2016 we will be able to significantly increase reach with this consumer segment.”
Following the formation of the joint venture, Brooks Brothers and Walton Brown will establish a corporate office and showroom in Hong Kong in early 2016.
Brooks Brothers today operates more than 460 stores worldwide including over 130 retail stores in the Asia Pacific region, 90 of which are in Greater China.