12 Nov 11:03News / New Technology / Reviews

French handbag maker Longchamp to invest in China to revive sales

Longchamp, one of the leading manufacturers of handbags in France, is increasing its presence in China and the US to increase its sales, said its CEO, betting on celebrities and its online platform to spice up slow growth.
Founded in 1948, Longchamp, best known for its Pliage folding bags, is one of the last remaining independent family leather manufacturers in France with a global presence.
Longchamp, which does not publish its earnings, saw that sales grew "less energetic" in 2016 and 2017, tripling ten years earlier, CEO Jean Cassegrain, the grandson of the company's founder, said in an interview.
The company, whose top market is French, closely follows China - hit the hit, as the number of tourists in France fell after the deadly Islamist military assaults in 2015.
But by next year, Cassegrain said that Longchamp aims to surpass growth in the broader luxury industry, which, according to consultant Bain, should rise by 6-8 percent worldwide.
The firm said that in 2015 it sold 560 million euros ($ 658.11 million), and they are estimated by industry observers to be in the range of 500 to 600 million.
Longchamp, which sells its bags and accessories in China via the Tencent messaging website (0700.HK) WeChat, plans to launch its own e-commerce platform in 2019 to increase sales, following similar actions by LVMH and Kering competitors (PRTP.PA) Gucci .
The bag maker has largely completed the expansion of its worldwide chain of stores, with 1,500 sales points in department stores and 300 own stores, although it plans to open several more in the United States, including one in Beverly Hills.
"We are entering a new phase of growth, this is not the opening of the store, but improving the performance of our current network," Cassegrain said.
Longchamp, which produces about half its amounts in France, along with the rest in countries including Tunisia and Romania, recently celebrated its 70th anniversary with its first fashion show in New York and selected the famous model Kendall Jenner as the face of his campaigns to boost his American profile.

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