US department store Saks Fifth Avenue plans to open stores in China and Macao. The first opening is planned for Shanghai in 2008.

Parent company Saks has been struggling with a weak performance from its Saks Fifth Avenue chain. China represents a new, fast-growing market with enormous potential for purveyors of luxury goods. Its large population represents a new source of revenue for the company, which already has licensed stores in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai.

Saks's Chinese licensing partner is Roosevelt China Investments, a private investment company. Roosevelt will locate and develop the sites for the stores and will operate them as well.

The first Saks store will open in the old Bund district of Shanghai, in time for the 2008 Olympic Games in that city. Counting 300,000 square feet, it will be the company's second largest store after its Fifth Avenue flagship. If the Shanghai store performs well, Saks will consider expanding into other Chinese cities.

Saks chief executive Stephen Sadove said that China represents "a very, very substantial growth opportunity" for the company, but added that it remains focused on the US market, where it is increasingly focusing on its luxury division.

 

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