Monday, October 27, 2008

today's business report

Rustan’s adds Hermes, Jimmy Choo to its portfolio

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña
Monday, October 27, 2008

The Tantoco family’s Store Specialists Inc. (SSI), which owns the largest and choicest upscale fashion lifestyle portfolio in the country, is upping the luxury ante with plans to bring French high fashion house Hermes and top couture shoe maker Jimmy Choo to the Philippines.

Anthony T. Huang Jr., executive vice-president of SSI and grandson of Rustan’s founder the late Gliceria Rustia-Tantoco, said the group continues to beef up its brand portfolio in response to consumers’ growing appetite for high-end brands.

“We have been acquiring new brands over the past few years. We are continuing to do so in the next three years,” said Huang as he pointed out that sales have been growing inspite of a slowing economy triggered by the subprime credit crisis in the US and the fallout of markets in other parts of the world.

For next year, SSI is preparing to launch Hermes, one of the grandest houses in the lexicon of luxury goods specializing in leather, read-to-war, lifestyle accessories, and perfumery. Established in 1837 in Paris, France, Hermes is renowned in the fashion world and its products are considered to be prestigious by virtue of workmanship, reputation, and price.

Also to be introduced in 2009 is Jimmy Choo, who has successfully created one of the world’s largest, most respected shoe empires. Of all the top-notch designers to choose from, Jimmy Choo is at the very top of every woman’s list with its impeccable quality and unlimited styles. Jimmy Choo shoes are noted for their very high heels and pointed toes.

Aside from Hermes and Jimmy Choo, SSI is also looking at marketing Massimo Dutti in the Philippines.

Based in Barcelona, Spain, Massimo Dutti is a clothing retail chain with around 397 stores in more than 29 countries.

Huang said the group is also looking at expanding the store network of Gap and Banana Republic with the opening of two net outlets each next year. Currently, there are four Gap branches and three Banana Republic branches in the country.

As for Rustan’s Department stores, the group will continue to modernize its organization to give investors a grand shopping experience. “At this point, we would like to improve operations of existing branches that we have,” Huang said.

“We’re very happy with our September-October sales. They continue to show positive results, we’re still trading higher than last year, and we are pleasantly surprised about that. In terms of our department stores, we’re tracking 12-to 13- percent growth in sales,” Huang said.

“So far it’s been quite good driven by the fact that customers are not traveling.  They’re staying home and buying in the Philippines,” Huang said.

Huang is hopeful that the company can sustain its growth for the rest of the year as they adopt a wait-and-see stance for next year.

“Next year is still a wait and see mode, but at the end of the day, we are hopeful that things will improve sooner rather than later. But as of today, things are looking okay for the year,” Huang said.

Founded in 1951, Rustans’ Department Stores are one of the Philippines’ major outlets for famous and high-value brand names, providing the capital’s top-end shoppers with premiere goods ranging from cosmetics to home furnishings.

Cartier, Tiffany’s, Ermenegildo Zegna,  Christian Dior, Gucci , Ferragamo Salvatorre, and Prada are just some of the top international labels available to Rustan’s affluent customers.

Aside from its international portfolio, SSI has also developed a number of highly successful specialty retail concept stores: Beauty Bar and Makeroom.

Beauty Bar is the first and only specialty personal care concept store of its kind in the country, carrying an enviable selection of personal care and beauty products not found anywhere else. It enables consumers the opportunity to sample fresh brands and niche products from all over the world.

Makeroom is a designer home improvement and container store, abound with innovative, creative, and witty ideas and products for home and office management.

(news item from the philippine star; photo from

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