Luxeplace Exclusive | How Do CEOs/Presidents of Nine Luxury Brands Understand “Physical Stores”?

10月 16, 2023

Store Visits – It’s an indispensable part of overseas luxury brand executives’ visits to the Chinese market this year.

For luxury brands, what changes have occurred in the functions and roles of physical stores today? Each time a new store is opened, considerations include the choice of store type, location, design, experience details, and the pace of retail expansion.

Through the trends in luxury brands’ store openings and store upgrades this year, we can glean insights into the above questions. Additionally, this has been a focal topic in the discussions between Luxeplace.ocm and luxury brand executives.

This article compiles and selects key statements from 9 executives of 9 luxury brands. Through their perspectives, we attempt to analyze the industry’s latest observations and judgments on luxury brand stores from the following angles:

  • Why Open a Store? – Stores are the center of brand storytelling and the window to the brand image.
  • How to Open a Store? – Concerning store location, store type, expansion pace, and store design.

Why Open a Store? – Stores are the center of brand storytelling and the window to the brand image

House of Creed, CEO Sarah Rotheram

“From past experience, CREED’s success has been driven by word-of-mouth, and we will utilize independent boutiques as centers for events, storytelling, and sample displays.”

“Online, we have already achieved substantial success through specific advertising campaigns. We aim to maximize the connection between online and offline to ensure customers have the best and most convenient experience.”

Luxury perfume brand House of Creed officially entered mainland China in November 2021, with its first store located at Shanghai IFC Lujiazui International Finance Center. In less than two years since entering China, CREED has opened 13 stores.

In September, CREED CEO Sarah Rotheram visited China for the first time since the pandemic. took this opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with her. During the interview, she emphasized the brand’s commitment to its stores and shared insights into the brand’s future store plans in the Chinese market.

Bang & Olufsen CEO Kristian Teär

“We have a network of 400 monobrand stores globally, which enables us to deliver a luxury experience. Having control over our distribution is vital in delivering a true luxury experience that cannot be easily replicated.

“We believe it presents a significant opportunity for us to showcase our brand image and educate consumers about our product development processes. For instance, take the Beolab 90 product, where the frame you see is seamlessly crafted in a single piece. Without explaining these details, people may not be aware of the level of craftsmanship and innovation we put into our products. Hence, having more monobrand stores will allow us to effectively communicate our brand values and product intricacies.”

In May, the Danish high-end audio-visual brand Bang & Olufsen launched the new portable speaker Beosound A5. On the occasion of the product launch, B&O CEO Kristian Teär visited China for a week-long trip, including the two major cities of Shanghai and Beijing. This marked his first visit to China since taking office in 2019.

During an exclusive interview with at the B&O Plaza store in Shanghai’s Lujiazui, Teär emphasized the importance of the in-store experience. He also shared the story behind the new product, the brand’s positioning in transformation, as well as his insights and plans for the Chinese market.

For more details from the interview, please refer to: Luxe.CO Exclusive Interview | Bang & Olufsen CEO: It’s Actually a Luxury Play

McLaren Asia-Pacific and China Managing Director Paul Harris

“I’ve seen the Chinese market develop over the years, and it has the most impressive large retail stores where there are two whole floors of customer centers where you can play games, enjoy a massage, and experience a tea ceremony, all combined in one building, and perhaps the most impressive retail experience I’ve ever had is in China.”

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the British luxury sports car brand McLaren, and also the 10th anniversary of its entry into the Chinese market. In April, McLaren’s latest model, the Artura, began deliveries. Paul Harris, the Managing Director for Asia-Pacific and China at McLaren, visited China for the first time since taking office and sat down for an interview with

During the interview, he marveled at the rapid changes in the automotive retail landscape in the Chinese market. He emphasized the brand’s commitment to the in-store experience and shared his insights into luxury cars and his understanding of Chinese consumers.

For more details from the interview, please refer to: Interviewing McLaren’s Asia Pacific Managing Director: “The Most Impressive Automotive Retail Experience is in China”

How to Open a Store? – Store location

Maison Francis Kurkdjian CEO and Co-Founder Marc Chaya

“What’s considered a second or third-tier city in China is almost as big as France. So when I look at this market, I don’t view it in terms of first, second, or third-tier cities. I look at it in terms of the sophistication of the environment. We will continue to do what we’ve always done, which is to follow a very selective approach to our market growth. This involves going into the most beautiful malls and retail locations where customers can fully enjoy the experience.”

“We are not a mass-marketing brand. We only distribute the maison in the most beautiful department store chains. In every door where we are, we are by far the number one (US), outperforming even three-axis brands, and we don’t do advertising.”

In August, the French haute couture fragrance brand Maison Francis Kurkdjian, a subsidiary of LVMH Group, launched its new 724 fragrance series in China. The brand’s CEO and Co-Founder, Marc Chaya, also visited China for the event and sat down for an exclusive interview with

During the interview, he shared his insights into the Chinese market and revealed the brand’s future plans for store expansion in China.

For more details from the interview, please refer to: Luxeplace Exclusive Interview | CEO of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Under LVMH Group

Baume & Mercier Global CEO David Chaumet

“For us, starting from a key commercial location is of utmost importance. There are several significant locations globally, such as Place Vendôme in Paris, Bond Street in London, Fifth Avenue in New York, and various places in Switzerland and Milan. In Shanghai, China, this luxury watch street is indeed an exceptional location.

“What’s interesting about it? I believe it’s a ‘street of diversity’ when it comes to watch brands. From entry-level watch brands to top-tier watch brands, here, you can embark on a journey to explore different brands.”

In August, the Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier, a subsidiary of Richemont Group, opened its first-ever brand-new concept store in mainland China on Nanjing West Road in Shanghai. The brand’s Global CEO, David Chaumet, sat down for an exclusive interview with within the boutique.

During the interview, Chaumet introduced the significance behind the design of the brand’s new store, the reasons and importance of its location, and also shared insights into Baume & Mercier’s future brand development plans.

Piquadro Chairman and CEO Marco Palmieri

“In terms of opening stores, we focus on some major cities or other important cities, but what’s even more important is finding the right location.”

“Similar to the situation in China, luxury and high-end brands are also exploring second-tier cities in Europe. In Europe, many people are leaving big cities like Milan and Rome, moving to smaller cities, and they like to change their lifestyle a bit. Brands also follow their customers and open stores in medium-sized cities.”

In September, conducted an exclusive interview with Marco Palmieri, Chairman and CEO of Piquadro, the parent company of the Lancel brand.

This is Palmieri’s first visit to China in nearly five years. He shared market insights from his trip to China, his thoughts on various-tier cities and store locations, and the strategic deployment of the three major brands in the Chinese market.

Store type and expansion pace

A.Lange & Söhne Asia-Pacific Regional Managing Director Nicolas Gong

“A.Lange & Söhne will be 100% direct-operated in the future.”

“In recent years, whether in the Asia-Pacific region or global markets, we have reduced the layout of multi-brand stores. In many markets like Singapore and Bangkok in Southeast Asia, we have only kept one flagship boutique. Direct-operated boutiques allow us to communicate directly with customers, whereas through distributors, the brand can never truly understand what customers are like and what they think.”

“In the future, Lange hopes to expand its channels by opening flagship boutiques in suitable cities and locations in China.”

In September, the Swiss Richemont Group’s German luxury watch brand A.Lange & Söhne participated in the 2023 Watches and Wonders Shanghai Haute Horlogerie Exhibition and unveiled the new LANGE 1 Perpetual Calendar watch in platinum 950 for the first time in China. took this opportunity to interview Nicolas Gong, the brand’s Asia-Pacific Regional Managing Director, where he shared how the brand is introducing Lange to Chinese consumers and the future development plans for Lange’s stores in China.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian CEO and Co-Founder Marc Chaya

“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in five years, we have 30 stores in China. This is one of my objectives.”

Breitling Global CEO Georges A. Kern

“It is important to acknowledge that China is an emerging market where the luxury industry has thrived for only 20-30 years. In other words, while you may see a mix of large and small retail counters in the U.S., the established retailer network is less extensive in China, leading consumers to gravitate more towards boutiques.”

“So the question is, how many do you run yourself, we call them internal boutiques, or how many are run by our retail partners. And here, we need to find the right balance.”

In July of this year, Georges A. Kern, the Global CEO of the Swiss independent watch brand Breitling, embarked on his first visit to China after the pandemic and granted an exclusive interview to

During the interview, he displayed full confidence and great anticipation for the Chinese market, and he also shared Breitling’s store planning in China.

For more details from the interview, you can refer to: Luxe.CO Exclusive | Breitling CEO: Chinese Consumers Rarely Buy Brands That Are Not Very Successful Outside of China

Boucheron Global CEO Hélène Poulit-Duquesne

“In the coming years, Boucheron plans to open 7 more boutiques in China, with the goal of increasing the total number of boutiques to 26. We do not intend to expand our retail network too extensively; we believe that having around 20 boutiques in one country is sufficient to represent the brand.”

At the end of March, Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, the Global CEO of Boucheron, the French high-end jewelry brand under the Kering Group, came to China and conducted key inspections of the brand’s boutiques in Shanghai and Beijing. In Beijing, she granted an exclusive interview to

When she first took office, Boucheron had not opened any directly operated boutiques in mainland China. Now, there are already 13. During the interview, she reflected on the rapid changes in Chinese cities and the fast pace of retail development. She also shared her insights into the reasons for adopting different designs for Boucheron’s boutiques worldwide and revealed the brand’s future expansion plans in China.

Store Design

Baume & Mercier Global CEO David Chaumet

“The decor of Baume & Mercier boutiques is heavily inspired by the blue hues of the ocean and waves. The colors of the walls evoke images of the beach, creating an atmosphere that fully captures the essence of the store—a place where you would want to gather with family and friends to enjoy time together.”

Boucheron Global CEO Hélène Poulit-Duquesne

“Uniform boutique designs can quickly become monotonous. I once made a silent commitment that if I ever became the CEO of a brand, I would ensure that every boutique worldwide would be unique. This is something I have done and continue to do for Boucheron.”

“Generally speaking, I would instruct the teams responsible for decorating each Boucheron boutique to collect antique objects from around the world, as antique items often carry many stories. I would also carefully select interior fabrics to ensure that each boutique, especially the VIP lounges, can tell a different story.”

| Image Credit: Luxe.CO

| Editor: Zhu Ruoyu