T HE high fashion chain store MCM has added a new dimension to luxury shopping in Phnom Penh with the opening of an MCM boutique in the main foyer of the Hotel Sofitel Cambodiana.
MCM, standing for Moderne Creation Munchen, is one of the world's most prestigious fashion lines specializing in leather luggage and handbags. The fashion chain also carries its own line of jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics and other fashion accessories.
Top selling lines are belts, money bags handbags and accessories. But the backbone of the company retail appeal remains its luxury luggage selection.
However MCM items and the kudos of being seen owning them don't come cheap. For those fashion conscious travelers who wish to upgrade their battered suitcases and backpacks, prices will set you back from $100 for a wallet to $800 for an elegant traveling bag.
Opened Aug 1, the store primarily caters to Japanese tourists visiting Cambodia with 80 percent of sales expected to come from them. The remainder of customers are expected to be tourists from other Asian countries and Europe.
Henri Lam, managing director of MCM in Cambodia, said, "We've been planning this since December last year. We have future plans for two more stores in Cambodia. One will be located at Siem Reap airport and the other on Monivong near the Allson Star Hotel. Both will be open by the end of the year."
Prices will be slightly cheaper than in Japan to attract consumers but by how much has not yet been determined. Lam says he has to study the implications of the newly-passed investment law first.
The company has taken a five year lease at the Cambodiana and expects to be financially viable in a short time. Lam refused to say how much the initial cash outlay was to open the shop.
Future plans are now being discussed for a store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Final negotiations are being conducted with a four star hotel to open a store inside.
Mr Murai, is the Japanese owner of an MCM franchise which covers 25 stores across Asia including Cambodia.
He says the products are very well known in Japan where he has several more stores and are very popular. He expects a large market in Phnom Penh due to Japan's demonstrated high interest shown in Cambodia, especially Angkor Wat.
The Japanese says he is not worried that tourist arrivals from his homeland have slowed to a trickle in the wake of the two incidences of kidnappings of foreigners enroute to Sihanoukville.
Murai said: "Our market research leads us to believe there will be a large increase in tourists beginning in October."
MCM was founded by Michael Cromer a part-time actor and model after he was dismayed at the choice he had when he went shopping to replace his upmarket luggage. This lead him to set up his own manufacturers in Munich.
The chain now boasts over 300 stores in 40 countries including such prestigious locations as Madison Ave, New York, Harrods, London, Rue St. Honare, Paris. Now Phnom Penh is on the MCM map.