US fashion chain J Crew is to bypass Europe and launch in Asia this year, according to reports.
J Crew will now take its first step into international waters in Hong Kong and Beijing, with stores opening in the autumn according to the Financial Times.
The move conflicts with recent reports that J Crew was eying stores in the UK. However, sources close to the situation have insisted J Crew is still firmly committed to opening shops in London.
The retailer’s decision to head to Asia rather than Europe, where US brands traditionally begin their overseas expansion, reflects a new reality in the fashion market according to J Crew chief executive Millard Drexler.
He told the newspaper: “No one in Hong Kong is really selling clothes like ours, with a fashion edge and fabrics from Italy, that are priced between the high street brands and the high end.”
J Crew has partnered with Asian department store Lane Crawford to open in its stores in both locations. It will expand across four further stores over the following months and will open a Shanghai flagship next year.