【英语中国】Lex专栏:中国鞋店不容易 Lex_China shoes: feeling the pinch

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-1-15 09:31

小艾摘要: Three years ago Chinese shoe sellers were increasing their sales at a 20 per cent clip – and they were adding stores even faster. Stock valuations could be as dazzling as Dorothy’s ruby slippers. No ...
Lex_China shoes: feeling the pinch
Three years ago Chinese shoe sellers were increasing their sales at a 20 per cent clip – and they were adding stores even faster. Stock valuations could be as dazzling as Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Now that sales are flat or falling, shares have followed suit and a rebound looks unlikely.

Belle International, the mass market giant, is the second worst performer in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index in the past year, off two-fifths. Stella International, a more upmarket rival, has lost 13 per cent. Last week Belle said same-store shoe sales were growing just 1.3 per cent at the end of last year, and on Monday Stella reported a 6 per cent fall. The two are not directly comparable – Belle has sportswear stores, Stella makes more shoes for other brands than it retails itself – but they show how yet another industry in China has been hit by slowing sales.

Shoes in China are a tough business. The top 10 sellers, led by Belle, make up just a quarter of the market, according to Nomura. Without much top-line growth, the focus has turned to profitability. Yet Belle is increasing outlets by about 10 per cent a year even as its labels and styles, often very similar to premium brands, have come under attack from internet-based sellers offering similar products at a fraction of the price. Investors have made their feelings clear: Belle is trading on 13 times forward earnings. The 2009 peak was 30. During that time, Stella’s valuation has held steady at about 14 times. Its manufacturing base is one reason, but another is its more careful outlet expansion and a commitment to the sort of strong branding that can withstand internet undercutters.

The Chinese like shoes as much as the next consumer, but they have got savvier about how they buy them. Time for sellers such as Belle to take note.

三年前,中国鞋店的销售以20%的速度快速增长——他们开张新店的速度甚至更快。股票的估值简直跟桃乐丝(影片《绿野仙踪》的女主角——译者注)的红宝石舞鞋一样炫目。现在的销售要么持平要么下跌,股价也是如此,而且看起来不太可能反弹。

大众市场巨头百丽国际(Belle International)是去年香港恒生(Hang Seng)股指中表现倒数第二的成份股,下跌了五分之二。更高端市场的竞争者——兴昂国际(Stella International)股价下跌13%。上周,百丽公布其去年底的同店销售增长仅为1.3%,本周一兴昂报告销售下跌6%。这两家企业并不直接可比——百丽拥有运动服饰专卖店,兴昂为其他品牌代工的鞋多过自身零售,但它们显示了中国又一个行业遭受销售放缓的打击。

在中国,鞋类是一个不容易的行业。据野村证券(Nomura)数据,销售前10名的企业(以百丽为首)仅占四分之一的市场份额。在营收增长空间有限的情况下,关注焦点已转向盈利能力。然而,百丽正以每年10%的速度增设直销店,虽然其商标和式样(往往跟顶级品牌很相似)已受到互联网卖家的攻击——它们提供类似的产品,价格却只是个零头。投资者对此反应已很明显:百丽股价的预期市盈率为13倍。在2009年峰值时有30倍。在此期间,兴昂股价的估值稳定在14倍左右。其鞋类生产基础是原因之一,但另一个原因是它更为谨慎的直营店扩张策略,以及它对那种能抗衡互联网低价竞争的强势品牌运作的坚持。

中国的消费者也爱鞋,但他们对如何购买更为精明。像百丽这样的企业应该多加留意了。

Lex专栏是由FT评论家联合撰写的短评,对全球经济与商业进行精辟分析

译者/艾卜

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