Fortnum & Mason CEO Tom Athron’s China Growth Strategy

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Fortnum & Mason CEO Tom Athron’s China Growth Strategy

Appetite for luxurious and transportive experiences in China is growing, Alizila learned in an exclusive interview with Tom Athron, CEO of famed British department store Fortnum & Mason.

The 300-year-old brand is bringing its classic hampers, picnic rugs, biscuits and tea to China through Alibaba Group’s B2C e-commerce site Tmall.

“We have taken the opportunity to launch on Tmall to test and learn and understand from our perspective what resonates with our Chinese customers,” said Tom Athron, CEO of Fortnum & Mason. 

Athron views the move as an opportunity to examine consumer experiences in new localities while providing Chinese consumers, most of whom haven’t been on an overseas trip for a while, access to some good old fashioned British fare.

Fortnum & Mason’s sparkling tea made from tea and botanicals is his tipple of choice, and the beverage has already stolen the heart of many shoppers in Hong Kong.

Key Quotes

“The Chinese market is hugely interesting for us, partly because there’s this burgeoning middle class which is increasingly interested in access to luxury brands, but in a much more relevant and modern way,” said Athron.

“Partly as a result of the pandemic and the actions that we took to invest quite significantly in technology, we’re operating at around 30 to 40% online,” said Athron.

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