Triumph International, the world's leading underwear maker, said it will open up to 300 mainland outlets in the next three to five years to meet growing demand.
The Swiss-based manufacturer, which has 10 stores and more than 1,400 counters on the mainland, has seen double-digit growth in turnover for the region, Ralph Jansen, executive director for the Asia-Pacific at Triumph International, told China Daily.
The manufacturer plans to open stores to "access consumers in every possible way", rather than relying solely on distribution through department stores and shopping malls.
"The company will work closely with trade partners to look for development opportunities in department stores and shopping malls. However, if no new department stores and shopping malls are available, we will try to open our own stores," said Jansen.
The underwear manufacturer has been on the mainland for three decades, where it's established a huge retail network and become a household name under the Chinese brand "Dai An Fen".
"Triumph as a company is very much committed to Asia, and in particular to China, as China is one of the growing economies and it has huge potential for the future," said Jansen.
"Our distribution network is Triumph's priceless asset. We want to make products accessible all over the country," said Jansen.
Strong domestic demand will continue to boost the mainland's economy for years to come, and personal consumption will play a leading role, said Charles Huang, director of China Research at BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking.
Those with a strong brand will overtake their rivals and become market leaders, said Huang.
Triumph was one of the first foreign underwear makers to foray into the mainland market in the 1980s. It boosted its image by holding fashion shows in 30 mainland cities in 2001.
"We made the big promotion because it is a very interesting market for us, not only from a commercial point of view, but also from the culture, from the people, from what we can learn in the market," said Jansen.
The mainland's underwear market is sewn up by a dozen local and overseas brands including Taiwan-based retailer Ordifen, which invested 1 million yuan in Shanghai to promote its brand, and French lingerie maker Chantelle, which trades on its European design.
(China Daily January 25, 2008)