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Fashion Label Paul Smith Plans Shanghai Megastore in China Entry

May 13, 2012

Buildings stand in the Pudong financial area in Shanghai, China. Photographer: Kevin Lee/Bloomberg

Buildings stand in the Pudong financial area in Shanghai, China. Photographer: Kevin Lee/Bloomberg

Paul Smith Ltd., the British fashion label worn by celebrities David Beckham, George Clooney and Jude Law, is planning a flagship store in Shanghai to enter mainland China as the clothing market surges.

The brand will set up a 5,000 square-foot (465 square- meter) location in Shanghai in December, and add 24 shops in China over the next five years, said Balbina Wong, chief executive officer for ImagineX Group, the designer label’s Greater China distributor, in an interview on May 11.

Known for slim-fitting suits and bold colors, Paul Smith will take on earlier entrants such as Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS:US), Burberry Group PLC (BRBY) and high-end menswear retailer Trinity Ltd. (891) which acquired Gieves & Hawkes in April. China’s clothing market will more than triple to 1.3 trillion yuan ($206 billion) by 2020 from 400 billion yuan in 2010 as rising incomes fuel demand, Boston Consulting Group Inc. said in a July report.

“This is the right time to join the race,” said Wong. “Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and brand- conscious. China’s overall GDP may slow, but the middle-class is growing.”

ImagineX is a brand management and distribution company that represents about 20 international brands in Asia, according to its website. Closely held Paul Smith has locations that include London, Paris, Hong Kong and New York.

Chinese urban disposable income rose 14 percent to about 21,810 yuan in 2011.

That is pulling global fashion brands into the world’s second-largest economy.

Prada SpA raised about HK$19.2 billion ($2.5 billion), including an overallotment, in a Hong Kong share sale in June to fuel expansion in China. Florence, Italy-based Salvatore Ferragamo SpA plans to enter as many as eight new cities over the next three to five years in China.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anjali Cordeiro at

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