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Sportswear takes over footwear for Chinese giant Belle

Chinese group Belle has reported that in the financial year 2016/17, its sportswear and apparel business recorded double-digit revenue growth, compared with a double-digit revenue decline of the footwear business. 

As a result, the sportswear and apparel business contributed a higher percentage of revenues (just over 50%) for the first time.

Belle is the largest women’s footwear manufacturer and retailer in China, operating about 20,000 stores. It’s €4.5 billion in revenues for the year were up 2.1% on the year before while profit was down slightly.

It designs and manufactures its own footwear brands, but only sells the sportswear on behalf of other companies.

The company said in a statement: “Generally speaking, in a developed country, athletic and casual styles dominate the footwear market, with limited market share for formal dress shoes. With the fast growth and continued sophistication of Chinese consumers, their demand most likely will be more visible in the sports and casual styles, driven by diverse lifestyles and unique aesthetics. The group’s past decision of entry into sportswear and apparel was based on the same view.”

The group closed 700 footwear stores and opened 540 sportswear stores during the year.

Image: Clarks is one of Belle's licenced brands in China

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