Club 21's outlet store offers cheaper designer buys

The 2,500 sq ft Outlet by Club 21 carries brands such as Blackbarrett, Calvin Klein, DKNY and Paul Smith, with products at up to 60 per cent off regular prices.
The 2,500 sq ft Outlet by Club 21 carries brands such as Blackbarrett, Calvin Klein, DKNY and Paul Smith, with products at up to 60 per cent off regular prices. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Club 21 offers past season inventory at reduced prices at outlet store in IMM

If you are looking for designer wear cheaper than it normally is, Club 21 has a few options for you.

The designer multi-brand retailer recently opened an outlet store, called Outlet by Club 21, in IMM shopping mall in Jurong.

According to a Club 21 spokesman, the 2,500 sq ft store opened on Sept 8 as a "separate retail point for mostly diffusion lines to clear past season inventory". Brands carried there are Blackbarrett, Calvin Klein Platinum, DKNY, DKNY Jeans, Paul Smith, Paul Smith Jeans and Marc by Marc Jacobs. These are sold at up to 60 per cent discount off regular prices.

There are two other Club 21 outlet stores in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

I think it's good that they are matching their prices to those of online retailers... since online retailers are priced at the same rate as European countries and some even offer tax rebates...

MR DONSON CHAN, who shops at Club 21 regularly

The other lower-priced option is to head to Club 21's multi-label stores and standalone boutiques around town.

The retailer has reduced the prices of its merchandise from several brands by 15 to 25 per cent. The prices were revised this year for its women's, men's and children's brands.

The Club 21 spokesman says: "For some brands, we have taken the position of rationalising our prices while taking into consideration currency fluctuations so as to remain competitive." She was unable to say by press time which brands had been reduced in price.

Visual artist Donson Chan, 25, a Club 21 regular since 2010, welcomes the lower prices.

He says: "I think it's good that they are matching their prices to those of online retailers such as Mr Porter, since online retailers are priced at the same rate as European countries and some even offer tax rebates, unlike typical brick-and- mortar multi-label boutique stores here."

Retail experts say that reduction of prices is necessary, given the competitive retail market.

According to Dr Lynda Wee, associate professor of marketing and international business at Nanyang Technological University's Nanyang Business School, Club 21's decision to revise its prices will stop it from suffering a "showroom effect where shoppers may visit the store, but buy at more competitive sources instead, like where the brand is originally from or online".

Club 21 is not the only branded goods retailer here that has revised its prices to stay in the game.

Chanel started revising prices of some of its merchandise in April. The Chanel 2.55 medium handbag now costs $6,660 instead of $7,550, which is almost 12 per cent cheaper than before. The same bag in Europe costs €4,260 (S$6,748.28) before tax refund. After a tax refund of 12 per cent (if you were to buy the bag in Paris), which adds up to around €511.20, that bag would cost S$5,919.55.

A Chanel spokesman says: "This measure was intended to reduce price differentials across countries, which have widened considerably due to the recent depreciation of the euro." She says that the price revision for Chanel's full range of merchandise will be completed by next month.

It is also understood that as of August, Italian leather goods and accessories brand Valextra's prices are almost on a par with prices in Milan. For example, its Milano bag now costs $4,300, a 9 per cent decrease from the original $4,730.

However, for other brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, it is understood that the boutiques here follow the prices set by their respective headquarters in Europe, both of which have no plans to revise their prices at the moment.

More changes are afoot at Club 21. By the end of this year, three standalone stores run by the retailer - Emporio Armani, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Mulberry - will close at Mandarin Gallery. These are all street-level duplex stores.

Club 21's only remaining brand at the mall will be Paul Smith, which is also a street-level duplex.

The Club 21 spokesman says that the Mulberry and Emporio Armani stores will move to an as-yetundisclosed mall in Orchard Road, while the closure of Marc by Marc Jacobs is because the diffusion line will be folded into the main Marc Jacobs line by next year.

Regarding the store closures, a Club 21 spokesman says that it is "normal practice strategy for any progressive retail company and that Club 21 is no different".

She adds: "Our strategy has always been to introduce emerging brands via our multi-label stores at Four Seasons Hotel and Forum the Shopping Mall and have standalone stores for the popular ones."

She says that Spanish brand Loewe and French brand Chloe will be added to the line-up at their Four Seasons Hotel boutique next season (Spring/Summer 2016).

Club 21 will also open standalone Bonpoint and Armani Junior stores at Marina Bay Sands in December.

On these new stores, the Club 21 spokesman says: "With our integrated e-commerce business being planned for next year, we are looking to provide an omni-channel shopping experience with these new stores at Marina Bay Sands."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Cheaper designer buys'. Print Edition | Subscribe