Nov 15, 2011
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Esprit says appoints Adidas exec to head China expansion

Nov 15, 2011

HONG KONG - Esprit Holdings Ltd said on Tuesday that it has appointed Holly Li as the new chief executive of its China operations with effect from February next year, to head the company's expansion in China.

adidas, Esprit
Esprit Kids campaign AW 2011-12

Li, currently vice-president and general manager for northern China of Adidas AG, would report directly to Esprit Chief Executive Ronald van der Vis and her main objective would be implementation of the company's growth strategy for China, the fashion group said in a statement.

Esprit, which competes with Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB and Spain's Inditex SA, said in September that it aimed to double sales in China to HK$6 billion over the next four years and expand its point-of-sales network to 1,900 from 1,000.

The company added that it was establishing a design center in China.

In October, Esprit reported sales revenue of HK$8.56 billion ($1.1 billion) for July-September, the first quarter of its fiscal year, up 0.6 percent from a year earlier.

Esprit said expansion in Asia would be focussed on the growth markets of China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. Including China, Asia-Pacific sales represented 17.2 percent of total sales at HK$5.81 billion. North America accounted for 3.7 percent at HK$1.23 billion.

Esprit, which depends on Europe for about 80 percent of its sales, is withdrawing from some underperforming markets and spending millions of dollars to revive its brand.

Esprit shares have been under pressure amid increasing scepticism of its turnaround plans, down nearly 73 percent this year against a 16 percent fall in the Hang Seng Index.

Earlier in November, Germany's Adidas, the world's second-largest maker of sports apparel after Nike Inc, lifted its 2011 sales outlook for the fourth time this year on strong demand in emerging markets and as it expands its high-margin brand outlets., making its executives hot properties for companies in the Chinese market.

(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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