Business Intelligence on Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism in China

ENZO Retail Chain Exceeds China Expectations

LJ International, one of the fastest-growing jewelry companies in the world, has released, for the first time ever, critical financial data detailing the progress of its new China retail division, ENZO. The chain, now with 23 stores in operation, is experiencing rapid sales growth both overall and on a same-store basis.

Since the start of 2006, ENZO has added approximately 1,000 square feet with a store in Shengyang; 1,350 square feet with a store in Beijing's Zhongguancun Plaza; and 500 square feet with an outlet in Beijing's Shidu Department Store (by comparison, its Shanghai flagship store is 1,350 square feet).

At the end of February, ENZO's retail space in China, Hong Kong and Macau totaled more than 30,000 square feet. Overall monthly sales volume has risen from about $100,000 in January of 2005 to approximately $700,000 in February 2006.

Most of the year-over-year increase was due to expansion (16 stores were opened during 2005), but same-store sales also have shown increases where year-over-year comparisons are available. At ENZO's flagship store, located in Shanghai's City Plaza, sales in January and February 2006 were running at more than double the rates in the first two months of 2005 (the store opened in November 2004). Also, the outlet is now profitable at the store level, months ahead of schedule.

The ENZO chain has also added substantial square footage to its overall total in recent months. At the end of December 2005 — on New Year's Eve — it approximately doubled its overall selling space with soft opening of its 10,000-square-foot mega store in the Palace of the Fisherman's Wharf development in Macau, which is expected to be in full operation later this year.

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