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Italian Prada Looks to Double China Business in Medium Term

SHANGHAI, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Prada is looking to double its business in key luxury market China, Chief Executive Gianfranco D'Attis said on Wednesday, even as the country faces slowing growth in luxury demand and significant economic headwinds.

"We have a lot of ambitions here in China, to double our business in the upcoming mid-term future. And with that comes also increasing our investments," D'Attis told reporters in Shanghai.

He did not give an exact timeframe for the ambition but said increased investments would not necessarily mean a major uptick in the number of stores opening across the country.

"Not only the number of stores is important to us, but the quality of stores, bigger stores with more categories, with more localized products, with more experiences, with more hospitality, more events, more special capsules," he said.

D'Attis, a former Dior executive who took the helm at Prada in January, was speaking at a preview of the brand's Pradasphere II exhibition in Shanghai. This is the second iteration of a concept that first showed in London.

As well as a deep dive into the brand's archive and identity, Pradasphere II, which is showing at a museum on Shanghai's Huangpu River, also includes a Prada-themed cafe and a gift shop in a repurposed train parked alongside the museum.

According to D'Attis, this likely won't be the last time fans of the brand in China get to enjoy something like the Prada cafe, which boasts premium Italian coffee. Developing a hospitality concept is on the agenda for the brand worldwide, including in China, he said, possibly in 2024 or 2025.

The Prada Group, whose brands also include classic English shoemaker Church's, reported a 10% rise in third quarter revenues in November, saying a strong performance in Asia and Europe helped to compensate for weakness in the Americas.

China is forecast to account for almost 40% of global luxury sales by 2030, according to consultants Bain.

D'Attis is hopeful Chinese consumers will return to traveling and shopping in greater numbers in Europe, but said that wouldn't necessarily impact sales at home.

"Because we have such a different offer abroad than the local offer that we have, we believe that there is no cannibalization," he said.

"They will continue to spend locally, they will continue to be treated like kings and queens in China and when they travel, they get a different product... than they can find in China. So it's very complementary."

Prada is not alone in remaining optimistic about China's post-pandemic market. Even as luxury growth slows in the world's second-largest economy, spooking investors, global brands from Louis Vuitton to Chanel have all recently staged events in cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Reporting by Casey Hall and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Mark Potter

Source: Reuters

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