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Luxury Retailers Eye Smaller Cities

Trend is playing out in U.S. and China

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Once almost solely concentrated in major retail cities, luxury retailers are changing their location strategies due to new patterns of living and working, Frame reports. As secondary and tertiary cities become more populous — or see an increased demand for more luxury options — premium retailers are increasingly looking to locate brick-and-mortar stores in such locales.

One example is Austin, Texas, which ranked as the second- fastest-growing U.S. city in 2022. Austin — the location of this April’s Shop! MarketPlace event — is now home to a Hermès store on South Congress Street. The French luxury brand’s Austin space fuses its Parisian heritage with the city’s own music scene and southwestern American character.

Similarly, Gucci’s recent opening in Detroit makes it the first luxury fashion house to have a downtown presence in the city. The boutique’s design is woven into the historic architecture of the area, with a series of restored glass tiles and geometric metalwork on the facade extending throughout the bright green and yellow interior. Gucci also came to Columbus, Ohio last year.

A similar trend is unfolding in China, where the focus is shifting to the country’s so-called lower-tier cities such as Chongqing. In 2021, retail sales there ranked third in China, and as many as 169 global brands arrived in the city, says the local commerce commission. These included South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster, French jewelry brand Van Cleef & Arpels and Paris-based leather goods purveyor Louis Vuitton. The latter brand’s store is integrated in a century-old building in the traditional western Sichuan style.

Click here to read the entire Frame article.

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