China｜Getting the Full Picture on China's Largest Apparel Company, HLA
According to the “Senken Newspaper” on October 2017, the Chinese men's brand "Heilan Home (HLA)" won the top ranking in the first half of 2005 for China’s listed apparel makers. HLA offers a wide range of products for adult men over the age of 18 that provides the necessities of a man’s wardrobe in suits and casual wear. According to the settlement announced this year by the "HLA" group, the total sales in FY 2017 reached RMB 30 billion (about US$ 4.6 billion), gross profit of the brand reached RMB 18.2 billion yuan (about US$ 48 billion , 7% higher than the previous year), and operating profit reached RMB 4.36 billion (about US$680 million, a 7% increase from the previous year).
HLA company launched in Jiangyin City, Jiangsu Province, China. When founder Shu Kenpei visited Japan in 2002 while doing market research and was inspired by the mass retailing that Japan was performing and decided to follow this method in China. In September 2002, the first HLA brick-and-mortar store opened in Nanjing City of China and carried out this selling method which at the time was unprecedented in China. In order to learn more about the market, the company dispatched temporary staffs to Europe and Japan. Shortly thereafter, management grew steadily and was officially listed in 2014. The total number of stores at the end of December 2017 opened in 31 provinces of China with 5792 stores and the coverage rate in prefectures and cities have reached over 80%. In 2017, they’ve managed to open 1054 new stores, closing 505 stores.
At the beginning, Heilan Home’s mens suit catchphrase was "Heilan, the Suits of Choice". However, after various market analysis and research, the company decided to expand its casual wear section and shortened the product development time. In the Chinese menswear market, the spring, autumn, and winter season is at its peak in sales. The brand spotted gaps during the summer period and therefore, aimed to fill it in by developing natural, high-quality fabrics to ensure that consumers would be inclined to visit the stores throughout the year. Currently there are 17 series and more than 5000 varieties in total. The brand image in the beginning was a little out of fashion, however was considerably popular in some first and second-tiered provincial areas. Since 2017, the brand appointed China’s popular young actor, Kenny Lin as the spokesperson which has improved the brand’s popularity in a short period of time.
In recent years, the brand has accelerated its developments not only in China but overseas and has opened 9 stores in just one year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2017. This year in May, they’ve also established stores in Singapore as it’s market is mature and has a high level of fashion sensitivity. This is an important strategic step in the brand’s expansion into the overseas markets. HLA is expecting to cross into Thailand in the near future.