American menswear brand Joseph Abboud kicks off China expansion

American designer menswear brand Joseph Abboud is to make another break into China following the agreement reached between its parent WHP Global, a brand management company, and Shanghai Youxiang, China’s leading luxury fashion retail group. It authorises the Chinese counterpart to have exclusive marketing and distribution rights of the Joseph Abboud brand in China across all channels including wholesale/franchise, freestanding retail stores, shop-in-shops and e-commerce.

The brand is set to officially launch in the country in Spring 2023, presenting a full collection of men’s apparel, footwear, luggage and bags and accessories, according to the press release by WHP on 9 November, though the location for the brand’s first landing is yet to be specified.

Starting its life in 1987, Joseph Abboud boasts bespoke men’s suits with sartorial etiquette and grace. The brand made its China debut in 2008 following its first runway show in the country, which was held in the courtyard of the Beijing Grand Hotel. Back then, its licensing partner was another Chinese firm called Judger Group (or Zhuang Ji in Chinese), who specialises in curating “premium business suits for elite urban men aged between 30 to 45 years old”.

The initial goal was to bring 15 openings by the end of 2008, including two flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing while ramping up its physical footprint to 100 locations by 2012. But the ambition fell short due partly to the financial woes at the Judger Group amid the liquidation of its shipbuilding subsidiary in the wake of the global financial crisis.

By collaborating with Youxiang, who pride themselves as being “an exclusive distributor of premium European brands” and count global labels such as Armani, Michael Kors and Moncler as brand partners, Joseph Abboud, is aiming high in retrieving its China expedition.

Having rejuvenised its iconic designs together with efforts to broaden its offerings to include outdoor wear, Joseph Abboud has successfully made an appeal to the younger demographics with people aged between 25 and 35 years old being the core consumer (50%), followed by 20 to 25 years old (29%) and 35 to 45 years old (25%). The return is believed to win over the new generation of Chinese consumers with the additional product line tapping into China’s growing outdoor market and other “youthful” products in line with today’s young consumers’ lifestyles.

Commenting on its China expansion, Stanley Silverstein, Chief Commercial Officer of WHP Global, said, “We are looking forward to partnering with Youxiang as we focus on the expansion of Joseph Abboud’s reach through both international and digital channels. Li Xianghu, founder at Youxiang, said, “We plan to bring around 100 Joseph Abboud physical storefronts in China in the next five years and achieve accumulated sales of online and offline of over 800 million RMB ($112.43 million).”

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