The group continues to capitalize on the fast-growing Asian market with the launch of an expanded shoe department in Lane Crawford’s flagship Canton Road store in Hong Kong, the opening of two new Christian Louboutin doors and the addition of another On Pedder location in Singapore.
The biggest initiative this year is the debut of the Shoe Library, which marks the group’s largest commitment to the footwear category. At 25,000 square feet, the new shoe department, located on the ground floor, is more than four times its original size, thanks to the growth of the category throughout the last few years.
“We are confidently reaching a range of double-digit growth over last year,” said Peter Harris, president of Pedder Group. “Footwear is definitely one of the fastest-growing categories, along with cosmetics.”
The Shoe Library is designed to evoke a retail encyclopedia of high-end shoes: The entrance features high ceilings, shelves of books as backdrops, and is devoted to major brands in the group’s portfolio, including Manolo Blahnik, Givenchy and Chloe. Other brands, such as Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin, are housed in salons, which create a more intimate shopping environment.
The luxury segment segues into a large contemporary footwear offering, which includes hot U.S. names like Alexander Wang and 3.1 Phillip Lim. “Contemporary is a price point we do very well,” noted Harris.
There will also be a section called “Blitz” that will show off all the retailer’s exclusives in glass cases, starting with a collaboration with designer Manolo Blahnik.
And for the first time, Lane Crawford is selling children’s shoes, said Harris. The retailer is working with Lanvin, Comme des Garcons and Pedro Garcia to make exclusive styles for kids.
Harris is confident the Shoe Library will give other global department stores that have recently revamped their shoe floors, such as Selfridges in London and Bergdorf Goodman in New York, a run for their money.
“For us it’s not about being the biggest, but having the most detailed, deepest assortment, with a lot of limited editions,” he said. “That’s our competitive advantage in terms of how we work with our brands, because Asia now represents such a large percentage of their business — close to 60 percent in some cases.”
The company is expanding outside the Lane Crawford business, too. Next month, On Pedder will open Christian Louboutin-branded doors in Shanghai and Beijing via a joint venture with the designer to run its Asia stores. The Beijing boutique at San Li Tun will be the country’s flagship.
And on Dec. 1, Singapore — where the group has “been trading very successfully for a number of years” — will get its second On Pedder boutique, measuring 10,000 square feet, just off the main shopping strip of Orchard Road.
“Together with our sister companies in the Lane Crawford Joyce Group, we’re having a really aggressive half, which we’ve been building up to for a while,” Harris said. “The group used the recession as a time to consolidate to recognize our key strengths and identify other areas where we were vulnerable and most solid. We emerged in very good shape.”