accessories brand MCM sees $2 billion sales in five
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[April 22, 2016]
By Astrid Wendlandt and Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) - MCM, the German
accessories brand owned and run by one of South Korea's best-known
female entrepreneurs, Sung-Joo Kim, aims to more than double sales to $2
billion within five years, tapping into shoppers' growing appetite for
niche luxury brands.
The brand, founded in Munich in 1976 and known for its colorful $700
studded canvas backpacks, plans to expand in markets such as Japan
and Europe and is looking to open outlets in major shopping hotspots
including Paris, Kim told Reuters.
"We have not even explored the Japanese market yet, we are just
starting there," she said in an interview on the fringes of the
Conde Nast luxury conference in Seoul.
In recent years, big luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada and Louis
Vuitton have lost some of their appeal to shoppers, who have been
opting in greater numbers for smaller labels such as Balmain and
Yves Saint Laurent, often with unconventional approaches.
Unlike many European brands, for example, MCM's image and style is
not led by one star designer, but developed by an in-house team of
Its collection is also heavily loaded with logo-embossed products,
whereas many brands such as Prada and Gucci have recently been
selling more logo-free items.
MCM, whose prices are around the same level as brands such as Louis
Vuitton and Celine, now makes around $700 million in annual sales -
putting it on par with the likes of Versace.
South Korea is home the world's biggest duty-free market with about
$8 billion in 2015 sales, and in such shops, MCM is the
second-biggest fashion brand by sales after Louis Vuitton, Kim said.
Asked whether she would consider taking the company public, Kim said
she was not interested.
"Money dictates money, I'm (a) more value-driven person," she said.
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MCM makes around 60 per cent of sales in Asia and the rest in
Europe, Middle East and America.
Its sales grew about 14-15 percent at constant currency in 2015, and
Kim expected them to grow about 20 percent in 2016.
The youngest daughter of South Korean magnate Kim Soo-keon, Kim
built her businesses from scratch. She gained experience in luxury
working for U.S. department store Bloomingdale's and developing
Gucci's South Korean business.
After licensing MCM in 1991, she bought the German brand from a
Swiss financier in 2005. On her business cards, she calls herself
MCM's Chief Visionary Officer.
Kim, who champions women's rights and is head of South Korea's Red
Cross, said luxury shoppers were embracing mobile e-commerce and
estimated that within five years, 15 to 20 percent of the brand's
total sales could be generated online.
(Editing by Mark Potter)
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