Casual and controversial, this chain is now set for success in the Chinese clothing market [Global Times]
(Global Times Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Shanghai store features the same ambience as A&F stores in the United States, with store models, classic lighting, heart-pumping music, and the aroma of Fierce cologne, the signature A&F fragrance.A&F is known for its racy marketing, usually using semi-naked male and female models as shop assistants. The brand has also been involved in a number of controversies including recently when the Chief Executive Mike Jeffries suggested the company's clothes were made for "cool" and "attractive" kids and not for "fat" people. What do Shanghai expats think about the brand and its edgy marketing strategies? Do they think the brand's advertising approach will work well in China?Timothy Quick, from the UK, project manager"Personally I don't agree with the brand's advertising strategy. The CEO's comments about 'fat people' and 'thin beautiful customers' were extremely offensive. But I do think it's a good marketing strategy and one that can work well in China. At least, for a while. The company has been marketing itself as the favorite of young and attractive people for years. But in the fashion world, it's hardly the only one to do so. And at the end of the day, it is the customer who decides whether to buy the product or not. And from what I've read about the brand's expansion plans, it seems that it manages to find enough 'cool kids' to purchase its products. Its Asia stores have been growing in popularity since opening and I think the new flagship store in Shanghai is the perfect location for it."Tiffany Parent, from the US, teacher"I think that Chinese customers are always hungry for new luxury products and the new A&F flagship store will prove to be extremely successful, judging especially from the long queues at its opening last weekend. I went there myself as I was curious about the opening event talked so much about in the media. Chinese customers seem to be more willing to spend a huge chunk of money on fashion, especially Western brands, than customers in the West. With the Chinese population getting richer, China's fashion market is growing quickly and this provides a good opportunity for foreign fashion companies, like A&F, to enter the Chinese market. A great example is the Swedish clothing retailer H&M. The Chinese market is one of the most popular in the world. I know a lot of my Chinese friends prefer Western brands, which are usually more expensive but are known for their quality and design. I feel A&F will be one of the most popular stores in fashion-forward Shanghai, at least for a while."Ella Hunt, from the UK, make-up artist"From what I have seen, my Chinese friends would much rather buy Western brand apparel than Chinese. Most Chinese living in big cities like Shanghai are fashion conscious and know a lot about Western brands, even those that do not sell in China. Some of my Chinese colleagues spend small fortunes on Western brands online. Chinese fashionistas want to be unique and stand out from the crowd and that's why they prefer to spend more on clothing brands from abroad. Foreign travel is also influencing tastes as a growing number of Chinese travel and shop abroad. I really believe that there will be a place in the Chinese fashion market for A&F and its edgy marketing approach will work to its advantage."
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