Bluebell Group, a veteran luxury retail brand distributor and operator in Asia, on August 16 formally announced the launch of its Cambodian operations.

The Hong Kong-based group says it operates 150 global luxury and lifestyle brands across Asia in the domestic and travel retail sectors.

“Bluebell’s vision for the project is around ‘harmonised retail’, seamlessly integrating the consumer journey physically, digitally, through nomadic concepts and a fully dedicated customer service to engage at a high level of retail excellence,” it said.

Bluebell Cambodia director Allen Dodgson Tan said the launch was a “watershed moment” in Cambodia’s timeline of economic development, and would create more jobs for locals during the pandemic.

“We are very excited to bring a new standard of retail to the Cambodia. Bluebell will assist global brands in accessing the Cambodian market, providing a conduit for FDI [foreign direct investment], jobs and tax revenues,” he said.

In December, Bluebell Trading Pte Ltd struck a memorandum of understanding with Oxley Gem (Cambodia) Co Ltd “to engage Bluebell as the manager of the retail mall of the landmark development, the Peak, in the heart of Phnom Penh, Cambodia”.

Bluebell Group says it has a presence in Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Tapped as Bluebell Cambodia managing director, Chinese luxury brand market veteran Pierre Balsan said the Kingdom could be considered to be a “next market” destination, after two decades of exceptional economic performance and a burgeoning appetite for luxury brands among the middle class, according to Cambodia Investment Review.

“Cambodia has a growing and aspiring middle class which is at the core of our business model. That said, many Cambodian consumers are already travelling overseas to purchase similar products so we are hoping to provide that local experience for them,” Balsan was quoted as saying.

He added that the first retail outlet would be opened in the capital, with plans to expand to Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.

Addressing concerns over the repercussions of Covid-19 on consumer spending, Balsan stressed that the luxury brand market has relatively low exposure to the usual market fluctuations.

“While of course luxury brands are not entirely immune from economic downturns it does revolve around its own economic lifecycle compared to low and mid-tier brands,” Balsan said, as reported by Cambodia Investment Review.

Bluebell says it operates across multiple product categories – accessories, footwear, apparel, fragrance, beauty, gourmet, jewellery, watches, eyewear and tobacco – employs over 4,000 people, and has 1,000 points-of-sale and $2.5 billion in turnover.