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Kate Spade downsizes brands but will expand in China

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Kate Spade and Walton Brown, a subsidiary of Asia’s premier fashion retail and brand management group the Lane Crawford Joyce Group, have announced a joint venture, focused on scaling and accelerating Kate Spade’s growth in Greater China - a continuation of its geographic expansion plans.

The newly formed partnership will leverage the expertise of Walton Brown, and the global demand for Kate Spade’s upmarket lifestyle products and apparel, to establish a strategic network of stores in key cities, enhanced by a robust organisational and marketing platform across China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Craig Leavitt, Chief Executive Officer at Kate Spade said: “This partnership is a pivotal next step as Kate Spade continues to advance along a key axis of our growth strategy – geographic expansion – while also continuing our partnered approach to margin expansion.”

He added “Walton Brown is the right strategic partner as we position Kate Spade for sustainable growth, allowing us to take a holistic approach to expansion, influence consumers and leverage resources across the Greater China region. Walton Brown’s relationships, operations and marketing expertise will help us create a cohesive foundation of stores surrounded by a vibrant ecosystem to help deepen our connection with consumers in Asia.”

Thomson Cheng, President of Walton Brown, stated, “Kate Spade already has strong appeal and demand in the market, with even stronger growth potential. Together, we will build upon this momentum to establish a broader foundation and fuel Kate Spade’s scale in the region.

Walton Brown is a full service retail management business which partners with large-scale international brands to grow their businesses in Greater China by providing total geographic and channel coverage of the market including retail, wholesale, e-commerce, travel retail and outlets. Walton Brown manages the Juicy Couture brand in Greater China.

The partnership comes as Kate Spade announced the closure of its Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade stores to focus on building its label into a $4 billion brand.

Both brands, which cater to the younger customer (Kate Spade Saturday) and the male customer (Jack Spade) will continue to be a part of the luxury label’s portfolio, as Kate Spade Saturday becomes folded into Kate Spade, and Jack Spade sells at other retailers and online.

“A key tenet of our road map for growth is ensuring that we are disciplined and forward-looking with our investments, putting our resources behind targeted initiatives that will maximize profitability,” Leavitt said.

Published on Friday 30 January by Veebs Sabharwal

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