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Dec 19, 2022
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Bluebell Group accelerates in China with Star Brands Travel Retail

Translated by
Dec 19, 2022

Bluebell Group is strengthening its position in China, particularly in the duty free market of Hainan Island. The Hong Kong-based group, which distributes some 150 luxury brands in Asia, has announced that it has completed "the full acquisition of Star Brands Travel Retail, a travel retail operator in China’s Hainan duty-free hub", therefore making the Bluebell Group "the sole owner."

Star Brands Travel Retail team visits Hainan's CDF Haiku International Duty Free shopping center - Bluebell Group

"The new entity, part of Bluebell China, offers global brands already present or looking to enter the Hainan travel retail market a wide range of brand operation and management services," the company said in a statement, without giving details of the transaction.
While tax-free shopping has been allowed on Hainan Island since 2011, its activity has boomed since 2020 becoming the preferred destination of Chinese, deprived of international travel since the pandemic. This trend has continued and accentuated, allowing many houses to achieve strong increases in the region, making Hainan Island a strategic location for the luxury industry.

Sales grow +300% in 2022

Star Brands Asia was founded in 2009 by American cosmetics specialist Rob Robertson. The brand management specialist offers its expertise in the beauty segment for mid-sized and niche brands wishing to expand in China, in terms of physical and e-commerce distribution, communication, influencer marketing, and more. The company operates 14 brands, has 50 employees, and has seen retail sales under its management grow +300% in 2022 compared to 2021.
In 2018, Bluebell invested in Star Brands Asia. In April 2021, the two partners formed Star Brands Travel Retail, now Bluebell China. “The Bluebell Group’s full acquisition of Star Brands Travel Retail is a natural evolution of our long term partnership in China. Over the past two years, the Star Brands Asia team built the travel retail business, Star Brands Travel Retail, through our local expertise and understanding of the Chinese market." said Star Brands Asia CEO Rob Robertson in the release. "We will remain involved to support a seamless transition and develop synergies with our Star Brands Asia domestic business," he added.
“We are excited to now be fully operational in China and accelerate the potential of the China travel retail opportunity for our brand partners,” commented Bluebell Greater China managing director Samy Redjeb, noting how “Thanks to the great groundwork by the Star Brands Travel Retail team over the past two years, we have a strong versatile local team, two offices and resources on the ground for store construction and VM project management in partnership with Sina Retail."
Founded in 1954, the family-owned Bluebell Group now has a retail network of 650 outlets, through flagship stores, shop-in-shops, its own multi-brand concepts, a wholesale network, e-commerce sites and marketplaces, operating in several regions, including Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Australia. The group employs more than 3,800 people and has a turnover of 2 billion dollars.

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