French label Maison Kitsuné partners with Samsung C&T to expand in South Korea
Parisian fashion and lifestyle label Maison Kitsuné is active on several fronts as it continues to grow in size. In 2017, its revenue increased by 30%, reaching €40 million, and it has several ambitious expansion initiatives in the offing. Maison Kitsuné’s objective is to open about 50 stores in the near future (it currently operates 16 directly owned stores), and it is set to accelerate in Asia in particular, with the next development wave about to hit South Korea.
Maison Kitsuné recently signed a partnership agreement with Samsung C&T, the construction and engineering arm of the giant Korean conglomerate Samsung. Together, they forecast opening about fifteen retail outlets in the country, between stores and retail corners, five of which should see the light in the next 12 months.
The first opening is imminent, since Maison Kitsuné’s first Korean flagship store will be inaugurated in Seoul's Garosu-Gil district on October 19. The 250-square-metre store will be a high-impact start to the label's South Korean offensive, which will continue with a strong push to enter the capital's department stores, beginning from Shinsegae in the Gangnam district. Also part of the deployment plan are five Café Kitsuné, the successful store/café concept launched by the label founded by Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki in 2002.
South Korea is regarded as one of the markets where Maison Kitsuné can grow most rapidly, considering the appetite Korean consumers have shown for the brand, both via the wholesale channel and when they travel. “It’s the second market in Asia after Japan, followed by Taiwan, Indonesia, and soon Hong Kong and mainland China, we hope,” Gildas Loaëc told FashionNetwork.com last April. “Asia is definitely going very strong at the moment, though we’re also working on opening a store in London next year. Even in Paris, it is mostly Asian tourists that you find in our stores,” added Loaëc.
Maison Kitsuné has set its sights firmly on Asia, with the signing of a distribution partnership for mainland China and Taiwan expected in 2019, while at the same time the label will also be expanding in Indonesia. It will do so with the support of another local partner, Indonesian company Buva, with which it is planning to open a store and a café in Jakarta next March, as well as a first Maison Kitsuné hotel in Bali in 2020. “It will be a collection of villas, an extension of the unique lifestyle approach developed by the brand since its inception,” said Maison Kitsuné.
The label has also been busy adding to its staff to manage all this activity, and has not forgotten its Parisian roots: in a few months, a new Café Kitsuné will open in the French capital, again in the Palais Royal area, but this time featuring a cocktail bar too. A toast to the company's ambitious plans will be in order.
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