Chinese retailer Bosideng International is set to start construction work in September on the recently acquired six-storey property near London’s popular Oxford Street.
The £20 million deal, which will ultimately see the company open a flagship store and European headquarters on South Molton Street on the outskirts of one of the busiest shopping areas in the UK, will bring the fashion brand to the UK for the first time.
Bosideng’s Chief Financial Officer Kelvin Mak said the business will invest an additional £6 million in order to create three floors of retail trading space for menswear in an area of London that attracts annual footfall of 24 million.
“We have secured a superb location in one of the world’s most famous retail destinations,” he explained.
“Our flagship store in London is going to be an outstanding landmark building and we are looking forward to the start of its construction.”
Bosideng was advised on the purchase by Yorkshire-based law firm Gordons, which will also work with the retailer during the construction tendering process.
Managing Partner at Gordons Paul Ayre commented: “This is a bold and confident move by Bosideng to establish its brand in the highly competitive UK and European fashion markets.
“By locating in the West End with such a striking building, the company has made a powerful statement about its intention to rapidly position Bosideng as a highly desirable high street brand.”
The company estimates that the construction work will be completed by July 2012 in time for the London Olympic Games which take place next summer, and is perhaps looking to capitalise on the expected increase in international shoppers as a result of the sporting event.
Recent data from worldwide retail analysts Global Blue indicated that sales in UK stores involving south-east Asian shoppers have significantly increased in the last year, with Chinese consumers alone making a 14 per cent contribution to non-EU international spend in the UK during 2010.
However, it is rare for Chinese retailers to enter the UK market; instead the last few years have seen the reverse with a number of British firms such as Tesco, Mothercare and, more recently, Ted Baker opening stores in the Asian country.
The UK arrival of Bosideng, which has more than 7,500 outlets in China, may pave the way for more retailers from the country to establish a European presence for their brand.
The company had annual sales of Rmb 7.04 billion (£681 million) for the 2010/11 financial year, with the vast majority of revenue generated within its domestic market.