Giordano is a Hong Kong retailer of men's, women's and children's quality apparel founded in 1981 by Jimmy Lai. Jimmy Lai was born 1948 in an impoverished Guangzhou, Guangdong, with family roots in nearby Shunde, Lai was educated to fifth grade level. Smuggled to Hong Kong aboard a small boat at the age of 12, Lai worked as a child-laborer in a garment factory for a wage of $8 per month. Rising to the level of factory manager, Lai speculated his year-end bonus on Hong Kong stocks to raise enough cash to buy out the owners of a bankrupt garment factory, Comitex, in 1975 and began producing sweaters. Customers included J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, and other U.S. retailers. Giordano is one of Asia’s most successful fashion retailers. Bringing innovations to Hong Kong such as rewarding sellers with financial incentives, he built the chain into an Asia-wide retailer. Currently it has operations in 30 countries, claims more than 11,000 employees in 1,700 shops across the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East. The company’s vision is to be the best and biggest world brand in apparel retailing. Its mission is to make people “feel good” and “look great” (Giordano, 2010). Giordano has been publicly listed since 1991 and since then trades on the Hong Kong stock exchange under the ticker symbol 709.HK. Giordano has its own manufacturing division where many of its own clothing styles are produced. Giordano also makes basic and practical men's, women's, and children's T-shirts and trousers, especially denims. In comparison, Giordano is very similar to the American based retailer The Gap. Giordano makes use of both large shopping malls and smaller town centre shopping precincts. Today the company operates 80 stores in eight markets, through outright ownership or franchise agreements and is set to surpass its 100-store milestone by the end of 2005.
Giordano in 1980’s
Although presently a successful international retailing company, Giordano's first beginnings were ominous. From its beginnings as a manufacturer of casual clothing in the 1980’s it has developed into a global brand with over 2.158 stores and annual turnover of in excess of HK$4.2bn (Giordano,2009). Jimmy Lai originally intended for the company to target the upscale Hong Kong market, it proved unsuccessful, and soon afterwards the company was faced with closing down all over Hong Kong. However, instead of shutting down Lai turned to other successful retailers of the day for inspiration, and proceeded to transform the company. Soon Lai developed a new company formula. By drawing upon ideas from many already successful international retailing brands such as McDonald's, United Colours of Benetton and Marks and Spencer, Lai created a new Giordano which focused on simple and basic high quality styles, in many colours and sold at reasonable prices. The massive make-over included the company's approach to customer service and consequently Lai had all employees taught to emphasize the importance of the customer. The formula was successful and by the early 1990s Giordano had 200 stores across mainland China and Hong Kong. Other stores soon followed in the Middle East, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Giordano in 1990’s
Jimmy Lai faced trouble in Giordano's business in the 1990s after he criticized Li Peng, the former Premier of the People's Republic of China, in his Next Magazine in 1994. He began to experience financial and regulatory setbacks in Mainland China. He was not allowed to open Giordano stores on mainland. He also tried to list Giordano on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange but was thwarted by Beijing-backed rivals. However, he succeeded in winning a backdoor listing for Giordano finally. It led him to sell Giordano in 1996. Jimmy Lai no longer owns the company and its current Chairman and CEO Peter Lau
Giordano Under Peter Lau’s Management
Peter Lau may describe himself as a man “of...
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