24 June 2008
Gieves and Hawkes Hints at a Return to Japan
CEO Mark Henderson hopes for entry in the 2009 fiscal year read on >> Famed Savile Row bespoke tailor Gieves and Hawkes has hinted at plans to return to the Japan market with their readymade line, sometime in the 2009 fiscal year. In a June 24 interview with Senken Shimbun, Gieves and Hawkes CEO Mark Henderson stated that they were in search for a "good partner" to help them make the re-entry.

In the last three years, the brand has successfully expanded to 67 stores in Asia, with emphasis on China and Taiwan. Net sales were up 10% for the 2007 fiscal year.

Keywords: suits
24 June 2008
Isetan Collaborates with Magazine CanCam on Sales Promotion
"Refined Commuter" style for young office ladies read on >> Leading department store Isetan's Shinjuku flagship is currently holding a sales promotion event called "Refined Commuter" targeting young office ladies (OL). The event was planned in collaboration with popular OL fashion magzaine CanCam and four select shops, Jolly Boutique, Free's Shop, Kailani, and L'est Rose Paris.

The clothing selection is intended to meet the needs of OLs' commuting patterns. Many OLs wear a uniform at work, but want to dress well for the morning trains and going out after work.

"Refined Commuter" runs from June 23 to June 30. The August issue of CanCam offers a style feature tied-in with the event. Isetan is hoping to achieve sales of ¥20 million for the week.

Keywords: Isetan , office ladies , CanCam
23 June 2008
Sales Up for Arnold Palmer Timeless
Renown's sporty casual brand a bright sign for the restructuring company read on >> Top apparel manufacturer Renown is reporting increased sales for its sporty casual line Arnold Palmer Timeless. Revenue for the existing store base was up 13% in the March to May quarter compared to the same period last year. June saw a 3% increase from last year's levels.

Renown attributes the growth to a change in chief designer last year as well as a faster to-market production system. The brand's relatively low prices have also helped attract many young female customers. 

Keywords: Renown
23 June 2008
Uniqlo Tops Senken's Poll of Fashion Students
Even fashion-sensitive students can only afford low-price retailers read on >> Uniqlo took the number one slot for the category "Brands I Often Buy" in fashion newspaper Senken Shimbun's "Fashion Consciousness Survey" targeting fashion school students across the nation. Point's inexpensive young women's brands Lowrys Farm and Jeanasis took the number two and three spots, respectively. Select shop Beams came in at number four.

Senken Shimbun
notes that fashion students are believed to have greater interest in designer brands than the general population, but the survey results suggest that students now gravitate towards cheaper mass-retailers due to the meager discretionary income plaguing young people. This, however, has been true for some time. The 2006 survey saw Jeanasis at #1, Lowrys Farm at #2, and Uniqlo at #3 — almost identical to this year's results.

The survey also illustrated that fashion students depend greatly upon vintage and used clothing.

There were 1,967 respondents for the survey, with a sex break down of 25%:75% (men:women). 

Keywords: fashion school students , Point , Uniqlo
20 June 2008
E-Commerce Zozo Resort to Work with 12 Magazines
Readers will be able to immediately search and buy magazine-featured products read on >> Successful fashion e-commerce site Zozo Resort wil start working with 12 print magazines to offer an easy search-and-purchase feature for select products in each issue. This cross-media project aims to increase profitability and increase customers for the site.

Zozo Resort apparently had many requests for magazine-featured products in the past and wants to help consumers get better access to the products they desire.

Mobile phone users will also be able to access this new service on Zozo Town Mobile.

The magazines working together with Zozo Resort:

Smart, Men's Joker, Fine Boys, Samurai, Cool Trans, Ollie, Warp Magazine
  PS, Mini, Seda, Jille, nadesico
20 June 2008
Beams to Open Children's Store in Daikanyama
"Kodomo Beams" to arrive on September 15 read on >> Select shop Beams has announced plans to open a new children's store in the Tokyo neighborhood of Daikanyama on September 15. The store will be called Kodomo Beams, with kodomo being the Japanese word for "child."

Kodomo Beams will sell children's clothing and accessories, as well as toys, furniture, and other lifestyle items. The space will also be used to hold events and workshops for parents and children to play together.

The target age for products is from newborn to 12. Beams is aiming to attract "stylish" young parents who want to dress their children well.

Related Article:

Japanese Select Shops (a tutorial including Beams) 

Keywords: Beams , Daikanyama , children's
20 June 2008
Mitsubishi to Strengthen Roberta di Camerino License
Anticipating brand image change from the Sixty Group's buyout read on >> Mitsubishi Corporation has announced an intention to strengthen its Roberta di Camerino license now that the brand has new management in Italy. Based on the Sixty Group's recent acquisition of the brand, the Japanese imports will be better aligned with the revised brand image, and the licensed goods will be targeted to a younger customer base.

Mitsubishi has imported Roberta di Camerino since 1975 and held the license for the brand in Japan since 1982. Mitsubishi runs a directly-managed store for Roberta di Camerino in Ginza that mainly sells the imported goods. The brand's iconic bag will become the new centerpiece for Mitsubishi's retail strategy.

As for the license business, Mitsubishi manages fifteen sublicensees with retail revenues hitting ¥10 billion a year.

Keywords: Ginza , Mitsubishi
19 June 2008
Tokyo Girls Collection AW '08 Date and Theme Announced
"Environment"-themed event set for September 6 read on >> The date and theme for popular Tokyo Girls Collection has been announced. The event will be held on September 6 at Yoyogi Olympic Stadium. The official theme is "Check My Heart," focusing on love, the environment, joy, behavior, dreams, and trends.

The promoters expect 22,000 visitors. Tickets cost between ¥4,000 and ¥10,000.

The brand line-up will be a bit different from years past, but still focus on "real clothes" in four categories: trend, designers, select, and debut. The show's presentation style will give greater emphasis on styling than seen before.

Related Articles:

Tokyo Girls Collection
- an introduction to the event and its social impact (June 2007)

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection , real clothes
19 June 2008
More Media Attention to Luxury Good Qualms
Both Asahi and J-Cast News re-affirm industry-wide worries read on >> More Japanese media outlets are reporting on the current drop in European luxury goods sales in Japan. While high-end consumers do not seem to be changing buying behavior to meet recent economic instability, aspirational and nouveau riche consumers are visibly shying away from big luxury purchases (under ¥1 million). This mass market group makes up 50% of luxury sales for most brands in Japan, and their movement away from luxury goods could have profound effects for many of the key market players.

According to Asahi Shimbun and J-Cast, the key reasons behind lower luxury sales are:
  • An average 20% increase in prices for luxury goods due to the strong Euro (up 25% over three years)
  • The consumer credit crunch caused by the international sub-prime mortgage problem
  • A reluctance of nouveau riche consumers to buy on unearned income when the stock market is down
In response to market conditions, Ferragamo and Gucci have dropped prices. As reported earlier, Ferragamo lowered prices around 10% on 27 items. Asahi reports that Gucci brought down prices 10% on average for 10 bags and 45 wallets in March and then prices around 6.6% on 47 bags and 57 wallets in April. Asahi quotes a retailer saying that the drops are simply because "the products were not selling well" at the former prices. Another brand manager is quoted in the same article as saying that "The current price level has exceeded the customers' buying power." The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reported in its "Household Expenditure Survey" that the average percent of household budgets spent on clothing/accessories was down 13.1% for October-December of 2007 and down 7% for the first three months of 2008.

In an opposite move, Louis Vuitton raised prices on 70% of goods at around 1.5% in March. As reported on June 3, however, LVMH's revenue was down 4% for the first quarter of 2008.

Less pessimistically, Isetan stated that to J-Cast that they do not believe the department store will experience a negative growth rate in sales for luxury goods this year.

Related Article
Nikkei Marketing Journal Reports on Luxury Brand Slowdown
(June 3)  

Keywords: Salvatore Ferragamo , department stores , luxury , New Rich , Louis Vuitton , Gucci , Isetan
19 June 2008
ViVi Sales Top CanCam for July Issue
A new leader amongst young women's fashion magazines? read on >> Kodansha's "adult sexy cute" fashion magazine ViVi has topped "Oneekei" CanCam (Shogakukan) sales for the first time. For the last five years, CanCam has been the dominant magazine for women in their 20s.

"sold out" (more than 80%) of its July issue. Many attribute the inclusion of small present (furoku) to ViVi's recent success.

Analysts are waiting to see whether this was a one-time victory or if CanCam's dominance is waning.

Related Article:

Under-30 Women's Magazine Breakdown
- Tutorial on CanCam vs. ViVi difference

Keywords: ViVi , CanCam
17 June 2008
Adidas Japan Dedicates Harajuku Store to Running
Adidas Performance Center Harajuku now open read on >> On June 14, Adidas Japan has remodeled its Harajuku location to become a flagship store dedicated to the sport of running: adidas Performance Centre Harajuku.

The product selection focuses on running-related goods, and shop staff work with runners on finding appropriate shoes for their personal foot shape using "Foot Scan" technology. The store also lets you register for the Adidas Running Republic community.

In celebration of the re-opening, Adidas offered 100 limited-edition pairs of AdiZero CS4 sneakers for sale. 

Keywords: Harajuku , adidas
16 June 2008
Bally Buys Back its Japan Operations from Itochu
Bally Japan to be wholly-owned subsidiary read on >> Swiss fashion company Bally has acquired all the shares of Bally Japan from trading company Itochu, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary. Bally International had originally sold 80% of Bally Japan to Itochu in a 2002 partnership agreement. The cost of buying back the shares from Itochu was not made public.

Bally currently has two flagship stores in Ginza and Osaka, plus 30 department store in-shops. The company projects ¥4.71 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending in January 2009. With the new management, Bally hopes to go after a younger set of customers.

Bally's stated goal for the buyout was unifying the global strategy and image of the brand.

In April, Bally was acquired by the Labelux Group.

Keywords: Bally , Ginza , Itochu
12 June 2008
Petit Bateau Flagship Sales 50% Over Expectations
Plus, synergy with existing stores leads to total revenue increases for the first quarter of 2008 read on >> Petit Bateau Japan is reporting sales 50% above expectations for its brand new Omotesando flagship store. The store opened February of this year.

The flagship opening created total greater awareness for the brand, contributing to an 18% increase in revenue for the existing store base.
12 June 2008
Samantha Thavasa to Open Select Shop in Ginza
"Eight Million" open on Namiki St. at the end of October read on >> Japanese jewelry and bag company Samantha Thavasa Japan, Ltd. is planning to open a select shop called Eight Million facing Namiki Street in Ginza on October 30. Kashiwa Sato — behind Uniqlo's UT t-shirt project and other high-profile designs — will act as Creative Director. Toshikazu Iwatani of brand Dress Camp will be the designer of the Eight Million clothing line.

The shop will take up the first three floors of an 11-story building, with a total floor space of 500 square-meters. The mix of domestic and imported products will be selected under the theme
"Tokyo real." The third floor, dedicated to beauty, will house a hair salon.

Keywords: Samantha Thavasa , Ginza
12 June 2008
MUJI to Open Higher-Priced Store
July 19 launch in new Shinjuku Piccadilly building read on >> Mujirushi Ryohin — otherwise known as MUJI — has announced plans to open a new flagship store featuring goods in a higher-price category than normal for the low-priced "no brand" retailer. The store will open within the new Shinjuku Piccadilly complex building on July 19.

This flagship shop will have 433 square-meters in sales space.

MUJI already has three stores in the Shinjuku area, but this new Piccadilly location is attempting to hit a more upmarket, lifestyle audience.
11 June 2008
Issey Miyake's A-Net Opens Two Stores
Tsumori Chisato Gold in Ginza, Ne-Net flagship in Daikanyama read on >> Issey Miyake's company A-Net has opened two new stores.

Tsumori Chisato
opened a boutique called "Tsumori Chisato Gold" in Ginza near Yurakucho Marui, Printemps Ginza, and Marronnier Gate, replacing a mercibeaucoup shop. The store will target more "adult" women and features Tsumori's new dress line.

opened its flagship store in Daikanyama, designed to look like a gallery.

Keywords: A-Net , Ginza , Daikanyama
11 June 2008
Sequoia Paris Handbags Suddenly Popular
High-quality, low-price seen as key for luxury-weary consumers read on >> Senken Shimbun is reporting that importer ANTiTESI has suddenly started to enjoy big sales for French handbag brand Sequoia. (Japanese website here.) For the period between March and May, net sales are up 60% compared to the previous year for existing stores. The reasonable prices (¥40,000 for leather bags on average) are seen as a key to the recent success.

Sequoia is currently sold in five directly-managed shops across Japan and 20 department store in-shops. ANTiTESI is planning a 80-100 square-meter flagship shop around the Aoyama neighborhood of Tokyo for next spring/summer.

Keywords: handbag
10 June 2008
Sazaby League to Dissolve and Liquidate Bali Barret Japan
To happen at end of August read on >> At a recent special shareholder's meeting, fashion company The Sazaby League (behind Afternoon Tea and American Rag CIE) decided to dissolve and liquidate its subsidiary Bali Barret Japan. The dissolution and liquidation are slated for the end of August.

Bali Barret Japan was originally established in January 2004 but never saw financial success. Net revenue for the fiscal year ending February 2008 was a mere ¥332 million, resulting in net losses of -¥261 million.

The Bali Barret stores in Japan are currently offering a sale on summer products and will close in August. 

Keywords: The Sazaby League
10 June 2008
H&M Announces Location and Open Date for Ginza Store
September 13 launch for store in GINZA gCUBE read on >> H&M has announced the opening date and location of its Ginza store. The Swedish brand's retail space will open to the public within the new GINZA gCUBE building as part of the complex's September 13 grand opening.

GINZA gCUBE faces Chuo Avenue and has 12 stories above ground and 2 basement floors.

The GINZA gCUBE building was a project of Tokyo Gas Urban Development in coordination with Mitsui Fudosan.  

Keywords: H&M , Mitsui , Ginza
06 June 2008
Ships to Strengthen Efforts to Reach 20 Year-Olds
Select shop chain to extend young "Jet Blue" line to women read on >> Select shop chain Ships will take steps this fiscal year to attract more customers in their 20s. The first move will be to extend the popular low-price men's label Ships Jet Blue to women. This will help the line expand into shopping buildings with a primary female clientele.

The first dedicated Jet Blue store with both men's and women's clothing will open in Harajuku in November, while other Jet Blue locations will add the women's line to the normal merchandising around the same time.

Ships hopes to reach ¥23.5 billion in net sales this fiscal year.

Compared to United Arrows and Beams, Ships has always had a reputation for being a bit more conservative and targeting older consumers. This spring, Ships opened a standalone store for its "Wine Label" — a line directly targeting Baby Boomers. This new plan suggests that Ships has not completely overlooked the economic potential of young people.

Keywords: Ships
05 June 2008
Sankei: Fashion E-Commerce Sites Taking Off
A profile of three key websites read on >>

Japanese newspaper Sankei reported on June 1 that fashion e-commerce sites have finally become a major force in Japanese retail.

Market research firm Fuji Keizai estimates that the Japanese e-commerce market reached ¥1,924 billion in 2007 and predicts a 13.6% increase this year to ¥2,186 billion. Internet shopping now makes up 40% of all mail-order sales (йЂљдїЎиІ©еЈІ).

Three key examples of Japanese fashion e-commerce: 

Mirabella is the designer brand retailer from cable shopping network Jupiter Channel. The site currently sells 46 brands, including Stella McCartney and Margaret Howell. Former Isetan employees and ex-women's fashion magazine editors work at the website, which also employs fashion cameramen to shoot the clothing samples in a glamorous manner. The average price of goods sold on Mirabella is ¥40,000. 

• Fashion building Lumine opened up an e-commerce site i Lumine in March, hoping to both sell products online and asssist the brick-and-morter stores. 38 brands are presently offered for sale, including Beauty & Youth United Arrows, Ships Jet Blue, and Free's Shop. Site visitors possessing Lumine Cards receive their normal 5% discount with online sales as well. Average expenditure per person is ¥16,000, with many shoppers using the site around 10 pm.

• Fashion site Zozoresort started at the end of 2004 — now the established leader in fashion e-commerce. The site currently stocks an unprecedented 680 brands and offers members special one-day sales on specific items. Zozoresort plans to offers a social networking service (SNS) later this year.


Keywords: Lumine , e-commerce
05 June 2008
Senken Shimbun Checks in on AW '08 Trend Predictions
Buyers reveal which trends and looks have received actual orders read on >> Japan's leading fashion newspaper Senken Shimbun has published a follow-up to its April 10 trend prediction survey for Autumn/Winter 2008-2009. After the collection shows each season, Senken editors ask buyers, merchandisers, and fashion directors from department stores, brands, and select shops about their sales forecasts for the upcoming season. Then a few months later, they report back to see which trends have actually resulted in orders."Folklore Essence" retained the top spot for overall "theme," followed by "Classic Memory." Both "Color Panel" and "Clean '80s" did not get the orders expected. Nothing in the survey received more than 85 points (out of 100) other than the color grey.  A partial review of the results below. (Items that scored above 64/100 are bolded. Results under 54/100 are italicized) Theme
1. "Folklore Essence"
2. "Classic Memory"
3. "Clean '80s"
4. "Color Panel"
5. "Architecture & Sculpture"
6. "Lovely Gothic"

1. Volumious knit sweater
2. Vest
3. Tailored jacket
4. Classic blouse
5. Skinny pants 
6. Fur coat
7. Down blouson

1. Fur
2. Lace
3. Mohair shaggy
4. Down
4. Nepp, fancy tweed

6. Matélasse Pattern
1. Check plaid
2. Paisely, damask, arabesquee
3. Material (feathers, etc.)
4. Leopard
5. Coat of armsDetail
1. Voluminous sleeves
2. Bijou
3. Ruffle, frill
4. Drape
4. Raglan
1. Scarf
2. Mouton and fur boots
4. Costume jewelry

5. Exotic leather bag
5. Shoulder bag
5. Chain bag
1. Grey
2. Black
3. Caramel, brown

4. Purple
4. Red, burgundy
04 June 2008
Uniqlo Reports 11.4% Growth in Sales for May
Existing stores see 7.9% revenue increase read on >>

Fast Retailing's Uniqlo reported a 11.4% increase in sales (compared to the previous year) for their 741 directly-managed stores in the month of May. Existing stores saw 7.9% growth. Classic items and seasonal items both sold well.

FR attributes the growth to a widespread media campaign of TV commercials and flyers. Customers increased by 10.1% for the period.

Keywords: Uniqlo
04 June 2008
Barneys New York Coming to Kobe
First store for the Kansai area read on >>

Barneys Japan has announced plans to open a fourth Barneys New York in the Western city of Kobe during the spring of 2010. The store will take up the two basement floors of Mitsui Fudosan's new 17-story Kobe Kyukyoryuuchi Project — including a hotel and stores from Louis Vuitton and Prada — located on the former grounds of the Kobe Oriental Hotel. The selling area will be around 2,800 square-meters.

Barneys Japan hopes for ¥3 billion in revnues for the first year. гЂЂ

Barneys New York currently has locations in Shinjuku, Yokohama, and Ginza. The company is hoping to also establish flagship stores in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka in the near future, as well as small shops, outlet locations, and online shopping.

Barneys Japan is currently owned by Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Marine Capital Co., Ltd. and has no capital relation to Barnes New York in the United States.

Keywords: Kobe , Mitsui , Sumitomo , Barneys
03 June 2008
Nikkei Marketing Journal Reports on Luxury Brand Slowdown
Most luxury sectors see negative growth read on >> Nikkei's marketing newspaper Marketing Journal (MJ) reported a front-page story on June 2 (
Keywords: Tiffany & Co. , Cartier , department stores , real clothes , luxury , New Rich , Mitsukoshi , Louis Vuitton , Gucci
03 June 2008
Salvatore Ferragamo to Lower Prices
10% drop to counterbalance 20% rise in three years read on >>

Starting on June 3, Salvatore Ferragamo Japan will lower prices on 15 items by around 10%, including women's bags and men's shoes. The brand plans to keep these retail prices stable for the entire year.

This is Ferragamo's first attempt at price reduction in any of its markets. Over the last three years, the brand had raised prices almost 20% on average, which has resulted in driving away customers in Japan to a certain degree. 

Ferragamo also plans on developing a line of products more in sync with the Japanese price range.

Keywords: shoes , handbag , Salvatore Ferragamo
03 June 2008
Banana Republic to Start Selling More Expensive Suits
At 20-30% more than current pricepoint read on >>

Gap Japan has announced the sales of a new line of higher-quality, higher-priced suits at four Banana Republic stores within the Tokyo metropolitan area. The suits targeted towards young career men will be around ¥85,000. 

The new products hope to attract more customers in their 30s.

The four Banana Republic retail locations to sell the suits will be Printemps Ginza, Roppongi Hills, Shinjuku Mitsukoshi Alcott, and Tobu Ikebukuro.

Keywords: suits , Gap
03 June 2008
Furla Japan to Sell "Classics" Only Through Catalog
"Furla Classics" to be pulled from shelves and put in pages read on >>

Furla's Japanese subsidiary Furla Japan has publicized plans to take its standard lines off store shelves and sell them in a catalog as "Furla Classics." The five bag lines to receive this "Classic" treatment include Giselle, Carmen, Greta, Simone, and Pratica. These products will no longer be displayed in the Furla shops, but will remain within the store stock. Catalogs will be the main channel for sales.

This merchandising shift is intended to make more room in the store to display the seasonal bags.  

According to the Senken Shimbun, Furla Classics currently make up 15-20% of Furla's sales.

Keywords: Furla , handbag
02 June 2008
Nina Ricci Partners with Mitsui on Licensing and Japan Expansion
Flagship opening for 2009 in the works read on >>

Nina Ricci has formed a business alliance with trading house Mitsui Co., Ltd. to expand the brand's position in the Japanese market. Mitsui will take a leading role in managing Nina Ricci's 14 licenses, with a new corporate structure starting on September 1.

The two companies signed an exclusive sales and import contract for the Nina Ricci first line, with Sann Freres handling sales.

Plans also call for a directly-managed flagship store to open in autumn 2009, aiming for the upscale Aoyama neighborhood of Tokyo.

Nina Ricci is owned by the Puig Beauty and Fashion Group. The global revenues for Nina Ricci stand at 300 million euros a year. 

Keywords: Mitsui
02 June 2008
Louis Vuitton to Open Watch/Jewelry Speciality Shop in Matsuya Ginza
First for the brand in Japan read on >>

Louis Vuitton has announced plans to open a jewelry/watch speciality shop on the first floor of Ginza department store Matsuya on June 21. This is the first in-store shop of the kind in Japan.


Keywords: jewelry , Matsuya , Ginza