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Close-Up preview: Q&A with Jean Cassegrain, chief executive, Longchamp

Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak peak of our Close-Up interview with Longchamp chief executive Jean Cassegrain, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.

Q: Do you expect the majority of visitors to the new [Hong Kong] store to be from the Hong Kong region or do you think they will be tourists?

A: “It will be a mixture of both Hong Kongese and mainland Chinese. We have been established in Hong Kong for a very long time and people here know about the brand. However, we also have a lot of South East Asians, Japanese and Korean [customers] because all of Asia travels to Hong Kong, particularly for shopping.”

Q: How popular is the brand in Asia?

A: “In the last few years we have seen a lot of the growth in Asia, especially coming from the mainland Chinese tourists. Hong Kong is the first place they go to when they go outside of China for the first time.”.

Q: How is the brand doing in the UK market?

A: “The UK is actually performing very well for us at the moment. After several years of effort and the support of the PR company and our advertising campaigns, the British public is starting to [become] familiar with the brand and our clientele is growing. Also in certain locations we are also able to rely on a very strong tourist trade, particularly in London. Selfridges and our shop on Bond Street both have a significant share of tourists.”

Q: Where do you see growth coming from for the brand?

A: “The emerging markets, like South America, are important but even in mature markets like Europe, the US and Japan we still have growth potential. So it is not only the emerging markets, but if you want to have double digit growth you have to look [at those markets].”

Q: How big a part of your business is wholesale and is it as important to you as your retail business?

A: “About 50% of our business remains at wholesale but it varies hugely from region-to-region. Some regions, like Hong Kong, are all retail. In fact it is like that in most of Asia, whereas in Europe and the US we have a higher share of wholesale. We definitely don’t have a plan to eliminate wholesale completely. Both networks are complimentary in terms of brand penetration. Wholesale allows us to be present and available in smaller cities so we need both.”

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