PETALING JAYA: High-end brands have the potential to grow in Malaysia, given the increasing awareness on and appreciation for more creative and stylish fashion items as well as increased spending power, especially among young executives.
“More young professionals are parting with their money to purchase products which reflect their status in society,” said a retail player who declined to be named.
He said factors such as the current bullish stock market and a healthy economic growth outlook for the country also helped encourage high-end shopping.
“It is not only during festivals like Chinese New Year that people shop for high-end products; shopping for luxury goods is more like a trend for them,” he said.
Anya Hindmarch Malaysia director Soo Shea Pin said young executives aged 25 to 35 formed a huge part of the company's clientele.
“We have products of understated elegance and beauty that many young executives love,” Soo said.
Anya Hindmarch Malaysia was launched in Kuala Lumpur in 2003.
“Our products offer confidence, comfort, practicality and polished style, which are what many young executives looking for,” Soo said.
The first Anya Hindmarch store opened in 1993 on London's Walton Street. An Anya Hindmarch bag soon became a staple among London's fashion set.
Five years on, the business outgrew the Walton Street store and moved to a new flagship outlet on London's fashionable Pont Street.
“In Malaysia, we have two outlets – at Suria KLCC and Parkson@One Utama. Two more will be launched in September,” Soo said.
According to her, the brand is doing well in Malaysia, having won The Most Outstanding Foreign Label at the Malaysian International Fashion Week 2006.
“Since our first store was launched, we have been constantly increasing orders,” she said.
Anya Hindmarch products, excluding the personalised leather bags, are priced from about RM1,000 to RM8,000. “On average, young executives spend RM3,000 to RM5,000 at one go at our stores. Very often, they spend well above RM5,000,” Soo said.
She said Anya Hindmarch also targeted tourists, including those from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Middle East.
“Our brand is well placed in the market and is in 'comfortable' competition with other foreign labels,” she added.
Cartier has also garnered quite a following in Malaysia, having been in the country for the last 15 years.
Cartier Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia marketing and communications manager Olivier Romang said the brand had experienced double-digit growth in Malaysia over the last three years.
He said Cartier had a diversified target market in the country as the brand had a wide price and product range. “Our range is wide enough to cover any occasion, including birthday, anniversary and corporate event.”
Cartier products include perfume (RM200), accessories (RM400-RM800) and watches (RM6,000-RM100,000).
“Young executives are definitely a part of our clientele, usually starting with steel watches and later upgrading to gold watches and diamond jewellery,” Romang said.
Another high-end brand making a name in Malaysia is luxury watch Corum.
Corum Swiss Timepieces regional director Deepa Chatrath said: “Corum has a promising future in Malaysia as Malaysians love creativity, colour and style. Corum creates beautiful watches that are treasured by customers.”
In Malaysia, Corum is sold through leading luxury retailers.
Chatrath said the company planned to introduce a new product range, Romulus, this year. “We have several launches planned this year and look forward to bringing new products to Malaysia regularly,” she said.
“Young customers are especially attracted to our Admiral Cup products. The watches are avant-garde and stylish and are conversation pieces themselves.”
Corum watches are priced from RM13,000.