Aspinal targets global growth with focus on China, Middle East and US
Aspinal of London has confirmed it has brought in advisers to evaluate options to fund its growth plans as it embarks on a journey to become a global accessories brand.
The British luxury business has appointed Houlihan Lokey, a leading international investment bank, to find a financial partner.
After opening new flagship stores in London and Dubai in 2018, it wants to roll out further key locations in China, the Middle East and the US, as well as enter new online markets over the next five to seven years.
It moved to a new and enhanced warehouse and invested in a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to support the next stage of growth.
In London, Aspinal opened a 3,500 sq ft flagship store in St James which is proving highly successful, with current trading up 20% in the last six months to September. Its central location helps it benefit from a growing international customer base, and sales are accelerating: up 70% year-on-year for the month of September.
Aspinal said the rest of its UK retail portfolio is also trading well. Like-for-like sales are up 5%, with its Westfield, Regent Street and Royal Exchange stores reporting increases of 17% to 25%.
With a strong UK business and growing brand awareness globally, Aspinal is stretching across the globe with a string of recent openings. In January, the brand opened a temporary store in Galeries Lafayette, Paris, which outperformed other major European and US brands, while last year’s US launch with Barneys New York saw a very strong 70% sell though in the first four weeks of trading.
The US remains a key focus for the company, with online revenues up 10% and a 50% increase in US customer footfall in London. Aspinal said it is currently negotiating further deals with other US department stores.
Meanwhile, China will get its very first Aspinal store this November. Located at the entrance to the Galeries Lafayette in the brand new "L+Mall" in Shanghai, the store opening will support Aspinal’s strategy to grow revenues in the Chinese online market.
But perhaps the label’s most ambitious plan is to open up to ten new stores in the Middle East over the next two years. This follows the successful launch of a flagship store in Dubai Mall in 2018, which took the brand’s presence in the region to five stores.
The retail expansion will be supported by plans to launch on online marketplaces to reach new customers across the world, starting with Farfetch early next year. This will build on its own ecommerce store’s progress, with online sales currently accounting for 45% of total sales.
With such expensive ambitious, it’s no wonder that Aspinal is looking for a partner. The company’s sales may be increasing worldwide, but the expansion strategy took a toll on its bottom line in the year to March 2018, with pre-tax losses deepening to £3.2 million.
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