Andre Cohen (LVMH, Swatch, Timberland) Responsible For Leadership & Results Of Coach China — Including Mainland, Hong Kong And Macau
It is no secret that American luxury brand Coach has its sights set on the rapidly-growing Chinese luxury market — we have written before on the company’s long-term growth strategy in the Greater China region. As other luxury brands enter the Chinese market, many of them focusing on the country’s burgeoning second- and third-tier cities (where middle-class growth is expected to grow the fastest), Coach is retooling its marketing and brand positioning platform to become even more competitive.
The company’s newly-appointed China Region President, Andre Cohen, who is due to begin his job next month, has a great deal of experience building western brands in the Asia-Pacific region — having spent time in Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan working for Timberland, Swatch, and LVMH — and Mr. Cohen’s plans for the China market are shaped by his successes with these brands in other Asian markets.
According to a press release, Mr. Cohen’s role in the China region will be mostly centered around brand building and driving new business in the region. The company hopes that Mr. Cohen can help Coach achieve a goal target of $250 million in retail sales and 10% market share over the next five years. The company recently completed the acquisition of all Coach retail businesses in China and now operates 26 locations in the region. These are comprised of 8 locations in Hong Kong, 2 in Macau and 16 on the Mainland, including 4 in Shanghai and 4 in Beijing. The company expects to open about 50 additional locations in China by 2014.
The press release goes on to further pin down Coach’s new China strategy:
Lew Frankfort, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coach, Inc., added, “We’re building a strong team to drive our nascent Coach China retail business – focused on accelerating growth in this emerging region for luxury accessories. Clearly, China is already becoming a significant market for imported brands that will grow rapidly over the next several years, as personal income and consumer spending increase to support the level of retail development that is already present in this market. Our goal is to become a leading fashion accessories brand in China and we have made great strides in the region to date.”
The importance placed on the China region by Coach and other major luxury brands and designers — including Miuccia Prada in an interview this week — illustrates the region’s growing importance in global business and trends. Although these companies have a head-start in China, they will have to continually work on their brand building and positioning work, or they’ll lose track of what the Chinese consumer is looking for in his or her luxury goods. And with Chinese domestic luxury brands becoming increasingly sophisticated — and knowing more intimately what Chinese consumers want — appointing experienced executives like Andre Cohen look to be the best way to stay competitive in this fast-moving market.