A Daphne storefront. Daphne International
Daphne International, a Hong Kong-listed footwear retailer that was once renowned as China’s largest, reported revenues and profits for full-year 2020 of HK$363.9 million ($46.81 million) and HK$133.2 million ($17.13 million) respectively, both down 83 percent, year-on-year.
In its boom years, between 2008 and 2012, the shoemaker added nearly 800 stores a year, peaking at 6,881. But starting in 2013, its revenue has fallen for seven consecutive years. A bloated inventory led to the company’s unhealthy cash flow, and subsequent sales promotions further compressed its profits, creating a vicious cycle. The company’s outdated image and lack of popularity with China’s younger consumers have also proven difficult to overcome.
Daphne closed 183 points of sale in 2020, reducing its number of stores to 242 from 425 at the start of 2020, and reducing its inventory by 74 percent, according to data published in its annual report.
The company says e-commerce will be its main distribution channel from now on, and its focus will be on collaborations with KOLs (influencers) on social media and livestream platforms, to increase its visibility among younger consumers. But e-commerce hasn’t proven a successful channel for the brand to date, with online revenues shrinking to HK$148.3 million ($19.07 million) in 2020, down 31 percent from a year earlier.