E-Land opens first two K-Swiss stores in China

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E-Land opens first two K-Swiss stores in China

Fashion and retail conglomerate E-Land Group yesterday announced that it launched two flagship stores for its sports brand K-Swiss in Shanghai and Beijing earlier this month to increase its foothold in China.

The new stores are E-Land’s first expansion of the K-Swiss brand since it acquired the U.S. footwear maker last year for $170 million.

One of the K-Swiss stores is in the Raffles City Shopping Center in Shanghai and the other is in Joy City Shopping Mall in Beijing.

The company said the malls in Shanghai and Beijing are popular among people in their 20s and 30s.

However, the entry into sportswear will likely be a test for E-Land as K-Swiss will face stiff competition from Nike and Adidas.

K-Swiss has seen slow growth in recent years, posting $195 million in losses from 2009 to 2012.

The company acknowledged that expanding in China will be a challenge.

“The sportswear industry in China is worth at 30 trillion won [$28.2 billion], but it is mainly dominated by international sports brands,” the company said in a statement.

But the retailer said that it will use its network that it has already established through its E-Land Fashion China to reach more consumers.

“The retail channels that we have will help us reach and appeal to Chinese consumers and become a global sportswear brand,” the statement said.

E-Land Fashion China has more than 7,000 stores nationwide. Its sales surpassed that of Korea for the first time last year, at 2.15 trillion won.

E-Land’s brands operating in China include Teenie Weenie, Roem and Prich.

The company said it expects its sales in China this year to reach 2 trillion won, and the company has had an average sales growth of 50 percent per year since 2002.

E-Land hopes its K-Swiss stores will keep that momentum.

“But we are going to increase the number of stores starting next year and have plans for 60 stores.”

Since 2009, E-Land has added well-known brands, such as Mandarina Duck, to its portfolio.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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