Some of the top fashion giants of the world, Spanish fashion giant ZARA, the US casual wear brand GAP, Swedish fashion pioneer H&M and reasonably-priced German fashion chain store C&A, are expected to consolidate their position in the Chinese market in two years time.
ZARA has already taken the lead to launch its operations in Shanghai, and H&M has recently also announced its plan to establish a retail store in China next year.
As China kept its WTO-accession commitment to open up the retail market in 2005, foreign-invested fashion chain stores competed for the markets in the country. Early this year, Inditex SA, the Spanish retailer that owns ZARA, became the first one to enter China.
Unlike the high-class fashion brands, these casual wear brands known as the "fashion killers" have products that manifest a fashionable and trendy design, as well as have reasonable prices. They not only own the retail brands, but are also retailers, and therefore play an important role in the industry. Insiders reveal that ZARA, which is still in an exploration phase in China, saw sales that reached 800,000 Yuan (US$100,000) when it started operating in Shanghai this March. In the next stage ZARA will enter into the Beijing market and its shop will be located in the soon-to-be finished fashion complex. Fashion retailing consultant Kurt Salmon Associates released some statistics, showing that China's casual wear market will grow at an annual pace of 10% to reach a scale of 468 billion Yuan by 2010.
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