Australian shoe manufacturer Volley has opened its first-ever store, in China, where it plans at least 50.
Volley shoes’ parent Brand Collective has opened a 100sqm shop in Shanghai’s Century Link Mall to showcase the range. Volley has been manufacturing shoes for 79 years but has only ever supplied multi-brand retailers, and never opened its own retail space.
The move, in partnership with mall owner Tian Fang, follows strong demand from Chinese online shoppers, in part sparked by widely published photos of Hong Kong pop singer Faye Wong wearing canvas plimsolls from Volley two years ago.
Today, 70 per cent of Volley shoes global sales are in China, the brand long ago having fallen out of favour with Australian consumers. In Australia, the core Volley tennis shoe sells for just US$30 in discount merchandise stores like Target.
Commenting on the Volley shoes brand resurgence, an analyst told the Daily Mail Australia the China foray was part of an attempt to “make the shoes cool again”.
“They’re clearly trying to rebrand and use their past reputation from when they were a serious shoe,” he said. “By putting stores in cool locations and spending lots on refurbishing them, they can set their image from there.”
Prior to the first physical store’s opening, Brand Connection opened a pop-up store in Beijing in May. Sales were so strong, it made the commitment to a store network.