Burberry Opens Massive New Shanghai Flagship

With what promises to be a theatrical production of an opening event scheduled for April 24, the company is taking a no-holds-barred approach to winning China.
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Eliza Brooke
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With what promises to be a theatrical production of an opening event scheduled for April 24, the company is taking a no-holds-barred approach to winning China.
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Burberry is looking to make a big statement in China this spring. The British fashion house has opened a new flagship in Shanghai, its eighth location in the city and the largest so far.

According to a Burberry rep, the new store is all about bringing London to Shanghai, a point driven home by its technical similarities to Burberry's global flagship on Regent Street in London. That means driving home the brand's heritage through British-made decor while matching the Regent Street location's dedication to embracing digital. The store is outfitted like a Best Buy employee's dream, with 40 video screens and 130 speakers placed throughout and an illuminated facade that changes with the natural light outside. (In the Regent Street store, that digital-environmental play takes the form of sporadic rainstorms simulated on screens and audio.)

And, of course, select clothing in the store is equipped with radio-frequency identification technology (RFID) chips that trigger multimedia content (runway footage, product information) when they approach the fitting rooms' mirrors that turn into screens. That nifty bit of technology was a big selling point -- and a declaration of tech savvy -- when it first landed in the Regent Street store in 2012.

If this whirring, gleaming monolith of a store sounds like a big production, it is. As with Louis Vuitton's Shanghai store opening, for which the house shipped an entire steam train to the city, Burberry's opening event on April 24 promises to be an "immersive, theatrical journey." (That's according to the release; Burberry's rep remained mum on the details of the event.)

The new store will also be home to the first in-store Burberry Beauty room in the country, and a slew of live events are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

Burberry started looking to accelerate its growth in China in 2010, when it acquired the stores that had been operated by its franchisees for the 20 years prior. The region represented Burberry's fastest growing major market by 2013, with comparable sales growth in the double digits, according to its annual report for that year. Luxury brands have made it clear that they are looking to knock China's socks off, and Burberry is making a particularly hard sell with this latest move.

Photo: Burberry

Photo: Burberry