UPDATE 1-Luxury retailer Canada Goose to open stores in Beijing, Hong Kong

(Updates with context, details of China business throughout)

May 31 (Reuters) - Canada Goose Holdings Inc will open its first stores in Beijing and Hong Kong, reaching directly to customers who have been buying its luxury coats online and at department stores.

The company will partner with ImagineX Group, the Hong Kong-based retail and brand management company, to run the stores, which are expected to open this fall, it said in a statement on Thursday.

It will also partner with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s giant online marketplace Tmall to expand its e-commerce operations, following a pilot project it started early this year, and establish a regional head office in Shanghai, it said. Apparel companies H&M, Inditex’s Zara and Gap are already on Tmall.

Canada Goose, known for its $900 parkas, has been moving to boost margins by expanding its direct-to-consumer business, manufacturing more of its coats itself and launching new product lines including knitwear.

While several rivals and department stores have reported falling sales and shrinking margins, the company’s luxury brand has helped cushion it from the retail industry’s struggles.

Canada Goose shares have climbed almost 30 percent this year, compared with a 1 percent decline in the Toronto stock benchmark.

The company appointed Scott Cameron as president for Greater China. He was previously an executive vice president for e-commerce, stores and strategy.

Chief Executive Officer Dani Reiss has said the company, which began opening its own stores in 2016 after selling through wholesalers since its founding in 1957, expects to have about 20 brick-and-mortar stores around the world by 2020. It currently has its own stores in Toronto, New York, Chicago and London, and with a partner in Tokyo. (Reporting by Nichola Saminather and Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Jeffrey Benkoe)