Michael Kors Is Killing It in Europe, But Has a Long Way to Go in Asia

That said, the brand absolutely crushed it this quarter in Europe and America.
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Eliza Brooke
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That said, the brand absolutely crushed it this quarter in Europe and America.
Go on, MK, you've earned it. Photo: Getty

Go on, MK, you've earned it. Photo: Getty

Michael Kors's winning streak isn't showing any signs of letting up. The brand's total revenue grew nearly 54 percent during its fourth quarter to $917.5 million, with North American and European revenue up 43 and 125 percent, respectively. 

Capitalizing on that growth, Michael Kors will be opening 55 new stores in Europe over the course of 2015, CEO John Idol said on an earnings call Wednesday morning. North America will get an additional 45 locations next year, including what will be the brand's largest store in SoHo, along with a brand spankin' new e-commerce site this fall. 

So what about Asia? Michael Kors ushered in the opening of its first Shanghai flagship earlier this month with an outsize runway presentation in an airplane hangar — the embodiment of that "jet set" lifestyle on which the brand's image is built. It looks like establishing brand awareness in China and Japan is going to be a much longer process than holding a single impressive runway show.

Kors execs noted on the call that overall the product assortment that sells best in Asia isn't much different from that of Europe and North America, excepting sizing discrepancies and some color variations (pink handbags tend to be a hit in Japan, for instance). But there's not a great history of "American luxury" in the region — Tiffany & Co. is a standout in that regard — and so the team is working hard to define what exactly that term means today.

Brand awareness in China is "very low," Kors execs said, a product of the fact that the label has only been selling in the region for two and a half years. To that end, the company has merchandising teams on the ground in each of its different markets and is prepared to move "very, very rapidly" to adjust to different marketplaces.