Fortnum & Mason will open its first international store this year with a debut on Hong Kong’s harbourfront. The retailer, which has only directly operated stores in the UK for the whole of its more-than-300-year history, will be able to tap into the growing Chinese appetite for luxury as well as Hong Kong’s destination status for both affluent Chinese visitors and those from elsewhere.
While the company is best known these days for its high-end foods offer, it also sells beauty products, fashion accessories, jewellery and gift items. And much of its offer trades heavily on its heritage and its very British profile.
Chinese tourists are key to major luxury stores in London, but at present around 60% of the retailer’s revenue comes from UK shoppers with the rest from a variety of nationalities. But Fortnum has good brand awareness in Asia and won’t be going into Hong Kong blind. It already sells its products through a number of Asian luxury retailers and has a deal with Lane Crawford in China.
The new Hong Kong store will open in September. It will cover 7,000 square feet in the new K11 Musea development on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour.
CEO Ewan Venters said he was “extremely confident” about the new store and that it “offers a stable commercial trading environment for us to make our first big move into China. It’s easy to do business there, easy to understand, and it promotes us strongly to mainland China.” Despite the new store being much smaller than its London flagship, the extra brand awareness it will create will be extremely important to its full brand offer in its webstore too.
The company currently has no plans for mainland China stores, although this hasn’t been ruled out.