OTB to Open Four Stores in Shanghai

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MILAN — OTB has big retail plans for China.

In March, the Italian fashion group will open a major retail development project in Shanghai’s JC Plaza mall, located on Nanjing Road.

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The four street-front, two-floor stores will house labels Maison Margiela, Jil Sander, Marni and Amiri, and include exhibition spaces and interactive areas.

In addition to the above brands, OTB, which has a minority stake in Los Angeles-based Amiri, controls the Diesel and Viktor & Rolf labels, as well as production arms Staff International and Brave Kid.

The JC Plaza store will be Jil Sander’s first flagship in Shanghai, and the first in China to be opened after the brand, which is designed by Luke and Lucie Meier, was acquired by OTB in March from Onward Holdings Co. Ltd.

Amiri’s JC Plaza store will be its first retail location in China. Mike Amiri, who established his company in 2014, has diversified into new categories across fine tailoring, accessories and shoes, and presents his main collections biannually at Paris Fashion Week. In 2020, he opened his first retail store on Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive.

The move reflects how China and the Asia Pacific region are key drivers for the future development of OTB. Chief executive officer Ubaldo Minelli earlier this year reported “a significant growth” in the Asia Pacific region in 2020, led by China, whose resilience helped contain the decrease in sales. The APAC area, including Japan, represents more than 40 percent of total revenues.

Renzo Rosso, founder of OTB, said he expects the group to reach revenues of 1.5 billion euros by the end of the year.

In China, OTB currently has 80 stores in 16 different cities, a number that is expected to double in the next three years.

The group’s online business in China is also growing fast as Diesel, Maison Margiela and Marni have all successfully implemented programs on WeChat and Tmall that have registered peaks of a sales growth of 140 percent year-to-date.

To foster communication and further engage Chinese audiences, OTB has recently opened official WeChat and Weibo accounts, with the aim of enhancing awareness of the group and its brands, sharing its sustainable commitments, and encouraging local talents to join the company.

Last year, Maison Margiela posted a 20 percent growth, boosted by gains across all geographies and channels, which drove the brand’s sales to 240 million euros. As reported, the group renewed John Galliano’s employment pact for Maison Margiela in fall 2019. The designer was appointed creative director of the brand in 2014 and since then, revenues at the Paris-based house have more than doubled.

Rosso said in November that sales of the spring 2022 Jil Sander men’s wear collection were up 80 percent and the women’s collection was up 32 percent. Like-for-like sales for the brand were up 51 percent, he said. “We expect Jil Sander to break even — and even before 2022,” Rosso said. There are 34 existing Jil Sander stores and Rosso is planning to open a new boutique in New York soon.

OTB has also acquired the site of the existing flagship in Milan, in Via Verri, which will be entirely renovated with a new concept.

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