House of Fraser is to try and crack the Chinese market next year, with the launch of a trio of stores beginning next year.
The department store business, which last autumn was bought out by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, is planning to open three branches in second-tier cities Nanjing, Xuzhou and Chongqing.
They might be less well known than China's bigger cities, but between them there is a population of 46.4m – not far off the entire population of England (53m in 2011).
The first store, in Nanjing, is due to open this time next year, with the second, in Chongqing, to open later in 2016. The Xuzhou store will open in 2017.
All three will be more than 200,000 sq ft in size. They will trade under the House of Fraser brand, which was set up in Scotland in 1849.
Trade journal Drapers reports that the Nanjing store will be located in a premises in the business district Xinjiekou, currently occupied by parent company Sanpower.
Nigel Oddy, who recently took over from John King as chief executive, said it would be positioned as “premium” or “aspirational affordability”, with prices equivalent to the UK.
He told the journal: “We want to play on our heritage, our Britishness, and make sure the brands that we put in are fit for purpose, so fit for that market.”
Oddy said the business decided to focus on tier two cities in the first instance because tier one locations such as Beijing and Shanghai are “over-shopped”.