Thursday, March 27, 2014

Penshoppe: Philippine Fashion Retailer to dress up Middle East

Clothing retail chain Penshoppe, a brand of Cebu, Philippine Fashion company Golden ABC, said it is going to expand further into the Middle East as part of an “aggressive expansion programme” and will open up to 10 new stores in the region in the near future.
The company, which is seemingly following the footsteps of the large Filipino diaspora in the Middle East, is eyeing Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan for the expansion in addition to its current presence of 10 stores in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

The new stores are planned to materialise through investments of local partners with whom the firm is currently negotiating, said Golden ABC’s chief executive officer Bernie Liu. Planned locations are Doha, Kuwait City, Muscat, as well as Amman and Aqaba.

Penshoppe is one of the most popular retailers of so-called ready-to-wear fashion in the Philippines where it currently operates around 600 outlets. Abroad, the number of stores is currently 25 and should rise to over 50 in the coming five years as part of Golden ABC’s “ambition to globalise its business and become the most admired Asian fashion brands company,” as Liu put it.

Due to the heavy concentration of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, the number of stores there should rise the most to around 30 by 2018, the company said in an earlier statement.

While it mainly addresses overseas Filipinos, it also strives to reach out to the local population. For example, when Penshoppe started in 2010 in Saudi Arabia, the share of revenue made with Filipino customers was around 95%, but later dropped to around 65% as locals quickly got familiar with the new clothing brand.

Other countries for expansion include Indonesia and Cambodia, the company said, while it wants to open another 25 new stores domestically. Later on, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and even Australia are on the cards.

Golden ABC was founded in 1986 in Cebu and has since grown to one of the largest clothing retailers in the Philippines. Its brand include, besides Penshoppe, Oxygen, ForMe, Memo, Regatta, Tyler and its direct selling subsidiary Red Logo. None of the latter brands are included in the expansion abroad yet, though.

Penshoppe is an interesting and not-so-common example for entrepreneurship turned global success in the Philippines. The parent company Golden ABC started in 1986 as a family garment business producing T-shirts for company giveaways. Later on, they began developing their own T-shirt designs, embarked on producing other types of clothes and eventually introduced their own casual fashion brands at affordable prices.

This strategy, unknown then in the Philippines until the advent of foreign casual-fashion outlets in recent years, has proven very successful and led to sales growth in double-digit percentage figures over the years and a strong brand recognition domestically and from the Filipino community overseas supported by advertisements featuring well-known Filipino celebrity models. And exactly this brand recognition abroad is the powder that now fires Penshoppe’s Middle East expansion.
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