Why Kate Spade, Coach Parent Is Teaming Up With This Chinese E-Tail Giant

Tapestry Inc. is taking aim at the booming Chinese luxury market.

The parent company of Kate Spade, Coach and Stuart Weitzman has entered into a partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Tmall as part of its digital push into the country.

Expanding its retail offerings in China, the New York-based retail group will debut flagship stores on the online retailer’s Luxury Pavilion platform, featuring merchandise exclusive to Tmall as well as providing personalized content and services. It will also release products on Tmall’s recently announced Flagship Store 2.0, which is launching this month.

The move would help fulfill two of Tapestry’s strategic initiatives: advancing digital innovation and expanding its business with Chinese consumers. Despite economic uncertainty surrounding the trade war, the group has reiterated its confidence in the country’s opportunity for growth. In a press release, Tapestry noted that sales to China-based shoppers represent less than 20% of total revenues, with e-commerce development still in the early stages. (Tmall currently boasts an active user base of more than 750 million.)

“We have a leadership position in China, and all of our brands have tremendous opportunity for further growth,” said Jide Zeitlin, Tapestry’s CEO. “Given Tapestry’s focus on customer experience, creating innovative strategic partnerships with leaders such as Tmall helps us to connect our unique lifestyle brands with the important fashion and digitally savvy Chinese consumer.”

While Kate Spade is in the midst of a three-year turnaround plan, the Stuart Weitzman brand has been in expansion mode with new store openings in China and a collaboration with Chinese talent Yang Mi.

Coach, on the other hand, has long operated in China, hosting a buzzy fashion show in Shanghai in December to celebrate 15 years in the market and signing Chinese actress Guan Xiao Tong as a global ambassador. The label is also planning to roll out in-store collaborations with local artists throughout the year.

“We are committed to offering a compelling experience for Chinese consumers wherever they choose to shop: our stores, direct brand and third-party websites or social platforms,” added chief digital officer Noam Paransky, who said the partnership would “not only drive local engagement but will provide learning that we can leverage on a global scale.”

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