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Topshop targets China in wake of Hong Kong debut

Topshop is eyeing further locations in mainland China, including Beijing and Shanghai, after opening its first store in Hong Kong this week.

The Arcadia Group-owned chain has begun its assault on Greater China with the 14,000 sq ft flagship on Hong Kong’s Queen’s Road Central, which opened on June 6.

Speaking exclusively to Drapers, managing director Mary Homer said she hoped it would be the first of many, identifying Beijing and Shanghai as prime locations for growth.

“We know through our experience of selling online in Hong Kong and China there is demand,” she said.

“Space is at a premium, so when the opportunity came we snapped it up because we know there is a huge fashion-savvy customer base there.”

Further store openings will come, she added. “It’s just a matter of finding the right space. As the opportunity arises we will continue.”

The Hong Kong store showcases the women’s young fashion chain’s ranges including catwalk collection Unique, premium line Boutique and its designer collaborations. It will also stock exclusive items such as T-shirts and beanie hats. Homer said the offering in China would target a mid-market audience similar to the retailer’s UK operation.

Topshop’s international expansion has been “accelerated” by the investment it received from US private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, after Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green sold a 25% stake in Topshop and Topman for a rumoured £190m at the end of last year.

Homer said the partnership provided the chain with a “huge opportunity”. She added: “They’ve got very experienced people and knowledge specifically in the US, which has been great, but it has also allowed us to accelerate our global expansion beyond the US and around the world.”

The retailer has traditionally used the franchise model overseas; however, its move into China has been managed via a partnership with luxury Asian department store Lane Crawford’s new retail subsidiary, Lab Concept.

“They provide the retail space, the operational expertise and the logistics and we manage the product and everything else, so it’s the best of both worlds – and very much a joint venture,” explained Homer.

Topshop already has a presence in more than 30 countries including Australia, Poland and Turkey.

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