International fashion labels have turned China into their main battlefield this summer, opening one new store a week as they bid for the spending power of wealthy consumers in the world's number two economy.
Prominent among the labels expanding their presence in China's shopping malls at a time when slow economic recovery in the US and a worsening debt crisis in the euro zone have forced Western consumers to tighten their spending, are Italy's MaxMara, and Gap, the iconic US fashion brand.
Market sentiment across various real estate sectors in Asia-Pacific remained subdue subdued in the second quarter of 2012, according to CBRE. The commercial real estate services firm has been monitoring the price and rental index in retail and industrial & logistics real estate on a quarterly basis. In general, the market sentiment in Asia-Pacific was mixed as investors remained mindful of the Eurozone debt crisis.
Philippine billionaire Henry Sy's shopping mall developer plans to spend PHP63 billion (USD1.51b) in the next three years to add as many as 18 shopping malls at home and in China as consumer spending increases.
SM Prime Holdings, the biggest Philippine retail developer, plans to build four to five malls a year in the Southeast Asian nation. It's also targeting a shopping centre in China every year, says Hans Sy, the firm's president and the billionaire's son.
Indonesia's Matahari Department Store is bullish that consumer spending will continue to propel the country's economy, giving the company a solid base to accelerate its store expansion to take advantage of the trend, its CEO Michael Remsen says.
Once foreign direct investment is allowed into India's multi-brand retail sector, international retail chains Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco may face competition from an Asian player – Malaysia's Parksons.
According to a Parksons spokesperson, the group wanted to set up department stores across Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi. The chain, which sells products ranging from groceries and cosmetics to fashion apparel, plans to invest in India by 2013. So far, only retail chains from the US and Europe have expressed interest in investing in India.
Japanese supermarket giant Aeon will work together with the country's largest food wholesaler Mitsubishi Food Ingredient to launch food supermarket business in China. They planned to build a local joint venture in three coastal provinces and start their operations within the year.
As Indonesia's Ramadan festive gets underway investors may be focusing on companies, particularly retailers, which tend to benefit from the frenzied spending that accompanies breaking the fast during Ramadan and the ensuing Idul Fitri holiday.
That translates into the biggest spending period and the year's most important holiday season.
"Retailers Mitra Adiperkasa, Ramayana Lestari Sentosa and Ace Hardware should see an increase in sales," said Ivan Chamdani, an analyst with Trimegah Securities.
KFC parent Yum Brands reported quarterly profit that missed Wall Street's view as inflation in China cut into margins in there, its top market.
Rising food and wage costs as well as expenses related to extending operating hours and building new restaurants in China have cut into margins for the company, Yum spokesman Jonathan Blum told Reuters.
The company has been raising prices in China to offset higher costs but that hasn't appeared to hurt demand as traffic rose in the quarter.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the developer of Angry Birds, expects its China revenue to triple in 2012, thanks to booming license income from Angry Birds products such as T-shirts, toys and amusement parks, Paul Chen, Rovio China's general manager, said on Friday.
Rovio on Friday opened an Angry Birds brand store in Shanghai, the first one outside its home base in Finland. The store in Xujiahui area, which sells licensed apparel and iPhone cases, is the first of 25 such outlets scheduled to open in China by the end of this year.
Carrefour, the world's largest retailer after Walmart, is learnt to be rationalising its expansion plans in India, prompted by a worsening global economy, particularly in Europe.
Pune was a major destination the France-based chain was looking at for its cash and carry (wholesale) operations, but that's now on the backburner, according to two sources. Some of the other store openings it had planned in the country for 2012 might also get delayed, they said.