* Brands seek more control over store design, marketing
* Hugo Boss makes 9 pct of sales in China
* Hugo Boss seeking to sell more goods through own stores
(Adds details, background)
FRANKFURT, July 2 German fashion house Hugo Boss
is taking full control of its store network in China
and Macau as it seeks to improve the way its brand is presented,
a move that mirrors a broader trend by luxury goods groups in
Big brands have been opening more directly-operated stores,
buying back franchises and taking stakes in retail partners in
Asia, Russia and the Middle East to give them more control over
store design and how their goods are marketed.
Luxury brands that have bought out their retail partners
include Gucci, Hermes and Prada in
Russia, Burberry in China and Japan and watchmaker
Swatch in the Middle East.
Hugo Boss said in a statement it was buying a 40 percent
stake in its joint venture in China and Macau from franchise
partner Rainbow Group but did not say how much it paid.
The operations comprising 55 stores generated sales of 94
million euros ($128 million) in 2013, contributing to total
sales in China of 211 million euros from 126 stores and
concessions, about 9 percent of group sales.
"The consolidation of our distribution activities in China
will further elevate the quality of brand presentation, increase
productivity and contribute to the strength of our operational
platform," Chief Executive Claus-Dietrich Lahrs said.
Hugo Boss is seeking to run more of its own stores around
the world instead of selling through partners and saw a 16
percent increase in own retail sales in the first quarter.
($1 = 0.7331 Euros)
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark