MANILA - Travel gear maker Samsonite said on Tuesday it is looking to open two to three new stores in the Philippines in the second half this year amid demand from "fashion-conscious" Filipinos.
Samsonite said that it already has 36 stores, but noted that there was robust domestic consumer spending on luggage making the Philippines a key market for the world's biggest travel luggage company.
Subrata Dutta, President of Samsonite Asia-Pacific, also noted that Filipinos don't buy luggage and travel gear just because these are durable and functional.
"I think Filipinos are one of the most fashion-conscious Asians that I have come across," Dutta said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.
Dutta said that when Filipinos choose a luggage, business pack and backpack "it has to be matching the person as far as his or her personality goes."
He added that it was common for Filipinos to buy 2 or 3 different bags or packs to suit different occasions.
"We see it in all markets, but I see it a lot in the Philippines."
Dutta said they're targeting "millennials at heart" with Samsonite's other brands and product ranges that include Tumi, American Tourister, Lipault, and Gregory.
Asia is a high growth region, Dutta said, accounting for a third of Samsonite's revenues.
Strong sales in the Asia-Pacific region have helped the company weather the impact of the higher tariffs on Chinese imports to the US.
Samsonite's sales in the US have been hit since the 15 percent on Chinese imports kicked in.