Gucci is to launch two flagship stores on China’s Tmall after parent company Kering said it would drop a counterfeit lawsuit against its owner Alibaba. The move shows how important Tmall’s Luxury Pavillion is to Western brands, who have suffered a loss of sales in retail’s annus horribilis.
The new stores – one for fashion and one for beauty – are to launch December 21st.
“Gucci has strategically invested in and cultivated a ‘digital first’ approach globally, including the establishment of a dedicated Chinese digital ecosystem over the past years,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci. The partnership with Alibaba “therefore represents the next step in this strategy as we provide our customers in China with an authorized, customized e-commerce experience on the Tmall Luxury Pavilion.”
“Chinese consumers are fueling the global luxury market and they expect an elevated, seamless, digitally enabled experience,” said Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group. Evans said the partnership will help Gucci “forge even greater success in the Chinese market by meeting the expectations of today’s digitally native luxury consumers.”
In 2015 Kering accused Alibaba of making it possible for US shoppers to order counterfeit goods in bulk from the company’s various websites, citing legal action after a failed attempt to resolve the matter outside the courts.
At the time Alibaba said it was already taking action against fake goods and that it planned to fight the case. “We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so,’’ it said in a statement.
The Chinese market is one of the few buoyant markets where luxury companies are making profits in comparison to the sales slump in their home territories.