29 August 2008
Hankyu Men's On Schedule to Surpass Sales Expectations
First six months nets around 13.5 billion JPY read on >> Hankyu Men's building in Osaka is reporting strong sales for its first sixth months. Revenue from February to July is estimated to be ¥13.5 billion, meaning that the new shopping building may slightly surpass its initial yearly expectation of ¥25 billion.

Officials at Hankyu partially attribute the high sales to greater demand for products earlier in the season.

Hankyu Men's is one of the most thorough men's retail spaces in the country, featuring a wide group of brands, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Paul Stuart, Paul Smith, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Neil Barret, and Burberry Prorsum.

Keywords: Hankyu , Osaka
28 August 2008
Senken Checks Sales for Trend Predictions
Tailored jackets, plaid check, and vests are a hit so far read on >> Japan's leading fashion newspaper Senken Shimbun has published a follow-up to its April 10 and July 5 trend prediction surveys 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, and then a few months later, actual sales.

"Folklore Essence" retained the top spot for overall "theme," followed by "Classic Memory." "Clean '80s" dropped especially far. The overall impression of well-selling items is a "mannish" and sharp style. Senken notes, however, that fall sales are much less buoyant than last year at this time, and we have yet to see hard sales for warmer items like voluminous knits.

The best selling items are tailored jackets, vests, scarves. The most popular colors are grey, black, and purple. Check plaid is the most popular pattern, although leopard print is doing much better than expected. Fringe and drape are popular details, while fur and lace are the top materials. These ultimately echo the main trends seen in the September magazines.

Nothing in the survey received more than 85 points (out of 100), signaling that the "popular" trends are not all encompassing.

A partial review of the results below. Items that scored between 84/100 and 64/100 are bolded. Results under 54/100 are italicized. The number in parenthesis is the rank at the time of orders, where applicable.

1. "Folklore Essence" (1)
2. "Classic Memory" (2)
3. "Color Panel" (4)
4. "Lovely Gothic" (6)
5. "Architecture & Sculpture" (5)
6. "Clean '80s" (3)

1. Tailored jacket (3)
2. Vest (2)
3. Classic blouse (4)
4. Voluminous knit sweater (1)
4. Skinny pants  (5)
6. Voluminous sleeve dress

1. Fur (1)
2. Lace (2)
3. Mohair shaggy (3)
4. Matélasse (6)
5. Nepp, fancy tweed (4)
6. Down (4)

1. Check plaid (1)
2. Leopard (4)
3. Paisley, damask, arabesque (2)
4. Coat of arms (5)
5. Material (feathers, etc.) (3)

1. Fringe
Drape (4)
3. Metal detail
4. Ruffle, frill (3)
5. Voluminous sleeves (1)
6. Use of feathers
7. Bijou (2)


1. Scarf (1)
2. Shoulder bag (5)
3. Mouton and fur boots (2)
4. Costume jewelry (4)
4. Chain bag (5)
6. Exotic leather bag (5)

1. Grey (1)
2. Black (2)
3. Purple (4)
4. Caramel, brown (3)
5. Salmon, fuchsia
27 August 2008
Takashimaya to Open Women's Fashion Website
Offering 15,000 products from 130 brands read on >> On September 21, department store Takashimaya will open an e-commerce site targeting women in their 20s through 40s called Takashimaya Fashion Mall. The site will offer 15,000 products from 130 brands, including Indivi, 23-ku, ICB, Untitled, and Epoca.

Users will be able to acess Takashimaya Fashion Mall from both PCs and mobile phones.

Takashimaya is reported to have invested ¥120 million into the site, but expects to reach ¥10 billion in yearly sales within five years.

Keywords: e-commerce , department stores , Takashimaya
26 August 2008
Beams to Open New Retail Spaces
Kodomo Beams for kids, Mangart Beams T for comic book fans, and Beams EX for men read on >> Select shop chain Beams has announced an ambitious retail opening schedule for this autumn.

On September 12, Beams Kagoshima will reopen at a larger size and feature more men's winter clothing.

On September 19, Beams will open its children's clothing and toy shop "Kodomo Beams" as well as "Mangart Beams T" in Daikanyama. Kodomo Beams will aim to transcend the normal retail space format and become a place where parents and children can come and play. The space will open in the previous location of Beams' female line Beams Boy. Mangart Beams T is a spinoff from Beams T T-shirt store, dedicated to graphics from Japanese manga comics. The shop will be located inside the current Daikanyama location of Beams T.

On October 8, Beams will open "Beams EX" in Yokohama More-s. The store will be only feature men's clothing, mostly suits and outerwear.

Around October 16, Beams will open a 445 square-meter outlet store in the Sendaiizumi Premium Outlet.    

Keywords: Beams , Daikanyama
25 August 2008
Diesel Japan to Open Four More Accessories Stores
Lumine Est Shinjuku, Parco Hiroshima, West Umeda Breeze Tower, and Nishinomiya Gardens read on >> Diesel Japan has announced plans to open four stores this autumn that exclusively offer accessories.

The first opens in Lumine Est Shinjuku in early September. Later that month, another store will open in Parco Hiroshima. The next will open on October 3 in Osaka's West Umeda Breeze Tower. The final location is slated for Hankyu's brand new shopping complex Nishinomiya Gardens (located in the Osaka/Kobe bed-town of Nishinomiya) in late November.

Diesel hopes to increase the total number of stores in Japan to 20 by 2010. Without including these new additions, the total is currently four, with a store in Tokyo's Daikanyama neighborhood already offering only accessories.

Timed with this latest announcement, Diesel has ended all licensee agreements for bags and shoes and has already started to produce them through Diesel Japan subsidiary Props.

Diesel's sales for the first half of 2008 increased 2% for the existing store base, but 20% when new retail locations and wholesaling are factored in.

Keywords: Diesel
25 August 2008
Popular Male Idol Takuya Kimura to Promote Levi's 501s
A return to the brand after eight years to spread the message "Live Unbuttoned" read on >> For the first time in five years, Levi Strauss Japan is running a sales campaign for its classic 501 button-fly jeans. The campaign is called "Live Unbuttoned" and taps massively popular male idol Takuya Kimura (of boy band SMAP) to be the "image character" once again after an eight-year hiatus.

The campaign will mostly be poster-based, but there will also be TV commercials running in sixteen regions of Japan as well as other countries in Asia.

Keywords: Levi Strauss , jeans
25 August 2008
Raf Simons to Open Boutiques in Aoyama and Umeda
First ever for designer, thanks to sann freres read on >> In September, fashion importer sann fréres will open boutiques for Belgian designer Raf Simons, one in the Tokyo neighborhood of Aoyama and one in the Osaka shopping district Umeda.

The Aoyama shop will open on Kotto-doori on September 3 and act as the flagshop location. The store will be 138 square-meters.

The Umeda location will open in mid-September in Herbis Plaza. The store will be located in the first floor of the basement, with 139 square-meters of sales space.

Keywords: Sann Freres , Osaka , Aoyama
25 August 2008
Sendai Parco Opens
150 stores aim for a total of ?14 billion in sales read on >> Fashion building complex Parco has opened its latest branch in the northern city of Sendai. The ten-story complex boasts 150 shops in a wide range of products such as fashion, interior, and food.

Floors B1F and 1F are dedicated to food, living, and cosmetics. 2F through 5F focus on men's and women's designer fashion. 6F is targeted at young women, with fashion, accessories, and a nail art service. 7F and 8F are men's casual fashion and sportswear, while 9F contains restaurants.

Parco Sendai expects ¥14 billion in total revenue for the first year. Official homepage: http://www.parco-sendai.com/

Keywords: PARCO
25 August 2008
Sanyo Shokai to Open Johanna Ho Flagship in Omotesando
September 6 opening read on >> Apparel maker Sanyo Shokai will open a flagship store for ladies brand Johanna ho on September 6 in the Tokyo neighborood of Omotesando. The store will feature the brand's full line as well as special items in its "vintage remake" line.

The two-story, 153 square-meter store will be the first standalone store for the brand, bringing Johanna ho to a total of seven stores. Wholesaling to premier retail locations such as Barney's New York Ginza will commence this autumn.

Keywords: Omotesando , Sanyo Shokai
22 August 2008
Uniqlo to Participate in Tokyo Girls Collection for First Time
To debut new pieces made in collaboration with TGC organizer Xavel read on >> Mass retailer Uniqlo has announced plans to participate in this year's installment of popular "real clothes" fashion show Tokyo Girls Collection on September 6. This will be the first appearance for the brand at TGC.

Uniqlo will debut a few pieces like high-quality merino wool parkas and mini-length dresses made in consultation with TGC organizer and e-commerce giant Xavel (soon to be renamed Branding). Popular model and Uniqlo "image character" Yu Yamada will be wearing the outfit.

After the show, the items will be available at all Uniqlo stores, but not on Xavel's e-commerce sites fashionwalker.com and girlswalker.com.

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection , Uniqlo
22 August 2008
Itochu Sees 3% Increase in Sales from Lanvin License
Both license business and high-end imports strong read on >> Trading company Itochu has seen a 3% increase in revenue for license Lanvin for the first half of 2008. Apparel made up 70% of total Lanvin sales in Japan.

In July, core sublicensees Raika experienced a 19% increase in sales and Descente a 26% increase.

Lanvin's high-end imports are also seeing strong sales in Japan (Coronet claims 20%), creating a synergy between the two markets.

Earlier in the month, sublicensee Joi'x Corporation reported high sales for second line Lanvin En Bleu thanks to Chinese tourists in Japan.
22 August 2008
Topshop to Increase Floor Space to Compete with H&M
Laforet Harajuku store to reopen on October 16 read on >> British retailer Topshop is currently tripling the floor space of its location in Laforet Harajuku. The move comes as Swedish fast fashion rival H&M plans on a November store launch a few blocks down the street on Meiji-doori.

The bigger Topshop location will open on October 16. This will be the largest store for any tenant in Laforet's history.
13 August 2008
Nikkei: Renovation Alone Cannot Fix Department Store Woes
Nikkei's Marketing Journal looks at the state of department stores read on >> On August 13, Japanese distribution and marketing newspaper Nikkei Marketing Journal (MJ) ran a front-page feature on the state of Japanese department stores.

In the 2007 fiscal year, total department store revenue went down 0.8%, the second year of consecutive negative growth. The number of stores that achieved positive growth declined 20% to just 75. Poor performance in the apparel and luxury sectors appears to be at blame. 

MJ gave most attention to department store remodeling and renovation — commonly seen as a solution to falling revenues in past years. The effects of remodeling now seem to be minor at best. 160 stores renovated in the 2007 fiscal year, but only around a third (53) saw an increase in sales as a result.

For example, Takashimaya spent ¥12 billion on renovating its Shinjuku location last year, adding many "revolutionary" features such as mixing men's and women's brands on the same floors to create a shopping destination for couples. After the re-opening, however, the sales base only grew at a 10% level for the first four months (May-August). From September, revenue dropped 1.7% compared to the previous year, with a total 1.4% decline for the entire year. Renovation alone could not overcome general consumer stagnation.

Hankyu in Osaka spent ¥5 billion on renovating both its men's and women's buildings last year, but only saw a 10% increase in sales — one-half of expectations.

One of the few success stories is Seibu Shibuya, which saw twelve months of 10.9% growth in sales after a March 2007 renovation despite no expansion of floor space.

Top Ten Department Store Locations by Revenue

1. Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi Flagship - Revenue: ¥272,887 m (-2.0%)
2. Isetan Shinjuku Flagship - Revnue: ¥263,367 m (2.5%)
3. Seibu Ikebukuro - Revenue: ¥174,649 m (1.3%)
4. Hankyu Osaka Umeda - Revenue: ¥173,140 m (1.5%)
5. Takashimaya Yokohama - Revenue: ¥172,478 m (-0.3%)
6. Takashimaya Tokyo - Revenue: ¥159,081 m (-2.2%)
7. Takashimaya Osaka - Revenue: ¥157,928 m (-2.1%)
8. Kintetsu Abeno Flagship - Revenue: ¥136,716 m (1.0%)
9. Matsuzakaya Nagoya - Revenue: ¥136,355 m (-2.6%)
10. Tokyu Shibuya Flagship - Revenue: ¥129,021 m (-4.0%)

Keywords: Mitsukoshi , department stores , Matsuya , Hankyu , Isetan
12 August 2008
Japanese Fashion Blog Elastic Releases "Hot Brand" List
Paul Smith and Burberry Black Label at top in anticipation of autumn "British Traditional" trend read on >> Japanese fashion blog Elastic has released its annual "Hot Brand" list for men's brands. Although not an official or objective measure of sales or popularity, this chart gives insight into the men's brands with the most buzz in the Japanese fashion community.

The brands are charted as a mock horse racing form, with importance marked with (#):
1. Acne Jeans - getting attention for collaboration with Lanvin
2. Yves Saint Laurent - designer passed away on June 1, 2008
3. (#5) is-ness - a domestic brand strong on outdoor sports
4. H&M - finally coming to Japan
5. N. Hollywood - unrivalved for being well-balanced
6. (#4) Comme des Garçons - collaborations with Vuitton, H&M, and Speedo
7. (#3) 3.1 Phillip Lim - ladies line and unisex designs are popular
8. John Lawrence Sullivan - British-styled domestic brand
9. Buffalo Bobs - O-nii-kei brand that made a splash at Hankyu Men's
10. (#2) Burberry Black Label - will be big when Tartan check comes in
11. Hare - a brand with trendy design
12. Balenciaga -  not just the shoes, but the clothes are also making waves
13. Black Barrett by Neil Barrett - easy to use if you want to be "cool & sexy"
14. Fred Perry - getting attention for the Raf Simons collaboration
15. (#1) Paul Smith - the brand to go to if you want "British Traditional" since he's "Sir Paul" now
16. Moncler - for down jackets.
17. (#4) Uniqlo - took home the big prizes at the Sekai Sandai Kokoku Awards
18. Lanvin - becoming a men's trendsetter
 Furthermore, Elastic identifies the core autumn trends as: England (British trad), Sports Outdoors, and Fast Fashion (H&M and Uniqlo).
12 August 2008
Hilfiger Denim Store to Open in Aoyama
August 29 opening read on >> Tommy Hilfiger's new denim brand Hilfiger Denim is launching in Japan. The very first store will open in the Tokyo neighborhood of Aoyama on August 29.

The store will feature all three Hilfiger Denim lines — Red, White, and Blue — targeting both men and women in their 20s and 30s.

An Osaka Hilfiger Denim store is planned to open in Umeda on October 3.

Keywords: Aoyama
11 August 2008
Joi'x Corporation Sees Double-Digit Growth for Lanvin En Bleu
Chinese customers key to success read on >> Men's clothing manufacturer Joi'x Corporation has reported to Senken Shimbun a double-digit growth in sales for the Harajuku store of license brand Lanvin en Bleu during the spring-summer season.

Joi'x attributes the growth to an influx of Chinese shoppers. Lanvin en Bleu is unavailable outside of Japan, leading to big purchases by Asian shoppers while in Harajuku. In order to attract further Chinese customers, Joi'x is signing up with the Chinese debit card service Ginren and placing ads in free monthlies read by the Chinese New Rich.

Overall, the brand expects a 14% increase in sales for the full fiscal year.

Keywords: Joi'x Corporation
11 August 2008
Sanei International Opens First Jill by Jill Stuart Store on Cat Street
Store takes a "select shop" format read on >> On August 9, leading fashion manufacturer and Jill Stuart licensee Sanei International opened up the first store for Jill Stuart second line Jill by Jill Stuart. Located on Cat Street between Shibuya and Harajuku, the two-story shop has 115 square-feet of sales space.

The Jill by Jill Stuart store takes on a select shop format, with half the stock being the main line and the other half made up of clothing, lingerie, and accessories from brands such as PLAY by C. Ronson and Plush & Lush. Sanei International hopes that lingerie will contribute 15-20% of total sales.

Future Jill by Jill Stuart stores are planned for Shinjuku Lumine West, PARCO Ikebukuro, and Diamor Osaka.

Keywords: Sanei International , Cat Street
11 August 2008
Sanyo Shokai Downgrades Year-End Projections
Revenue down from earlier expectations, but still an increase in profits read on >> Leading clothing manufacturer Sanyo Shokai has downgraded earning expectations for the full fiscal-year due to underperformance for the first six months of 2008. Sanyo now expects levels of both net sales and ordinary profit lower than previously predicted.

The adjusted figures for the full-term:

 • Net sales at ¥141 billion (-1.5% compared to the previous year), down from initial expectations of ¥144 billion (which would have been a 0.6% increase).
 • Operating profit at ¥9.6 billion (-0.9%), down from initial expectations of ¥10 billion (which would have been a 3.2% increase).
 • Ordinary profit at ¥10 billion (-0.8%), down from initial expectations of ¥10.5 billion (which would have been a 4.2% increase).
 • Net profit at ¥7.5 billion (17.7%), down from initial expectations of ¥8.6 billion.

Sanyo's brands for younger women in department stores such as To Be Chic, Amaca, and Smacky Glam continue to perform strongly, but lines for older married women are doing less robust.

Keywords: Sanyo Shokai
07 August 2008
NI Teisho to Open Luciano Soprani Store in Ginza
September 9 launch date read on >> Textile maker NI Teijin Shoji Co., Ltd. will open a flagship store for its licensed brand Luciano Soprani in Tokyo's upscale Ginza neighborhood on September 9.

The standalone shop will be two stories and have 94 square-meters of selling space.

NI Teisho became the licensee of Luciano Soprani for Japan in 2004. Onward Kashiyama owned 70% of Luciano Soprani SpA until a falling out in 1992.

Keywords: Ginza
07 August 2008
Burnedest to Put Store for New Apparel Brand Honey Bunch in Shibuya 109
Paris Hilton will be the spokesmodel read on >> Burnedest — the apparel subsidiary of Japanese bag brand Samantha Thavasa — will open a store in shopping complex Shibuya 109 on August 23 for its new brand Honey Bunch. This new brand will target young Japanese women in their early 20s.

Paris Hilton — who has been a spokeswoman for Samantha Thavasa in the past — will be the "image girl" for Honey Bunch. The shop interiors will be carpeted and done in pink and white, modeled after Hilton's personal home.

Burnedest plans on future expansion of Honey Bunch shops into department stores and other shopping facilities.

Keywords: Samantha Thavasa , Shibuya 109
05 August 2008
Alba Rosa Japan to Open Five Stores in Autumn
New retail spaces from Sapporo to Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka read on >> Surf casual brand Alba Rosa Japan will open five new retail spaces in autumn. A store has already opened in Seibu Sapporo, and stores will open in Sendai Forus on August 21, in Osaka's Shinsaibashi Opa on August 22, on the third floor of Nagoya Matsuzakaya on September 2, and on the first floor of Seibu Ikebukuro in late September. This will eventually bring the total number of stores to 11.

Alba Rosa succeeded wildly during the spring/summer season by putting shops inside of department stores, with total revenues for existing stores up 50%.
05 August 2008
Senken Shimbun: Ranking of Top-Growing Apparel Specialty Companies
IGA tops list at 56.6% growth read on >> Japanese fashion industry newspaper Senken Shimbun offered its list of 20 fastest-growing Japanese apparel specialty companies on August 5, noting that the gulf between profitable and unprofitable companies continues to widen. The newspaper also pointed out that young women's casual apparel makers like IGA, Cross Company, Heart Market, Arrow, P & M, Point, and Calm did particularly well in last year's market.

For the select shops, Journal Standard's (Baycrews) women's line sold extremely well in 2007, and Beams and United Arrows' expansions brought in higher revenue. Urban Research made it to the ¥10 billion sales level for the first time.

In terms of profitability, Senken found that the number of companies with over ¥1 billion in profits declined 11.5%.

Companies above the ¥3 billion net sales mark ranked by percent change in revenues compared to the previous year:

1. IGA - 56.6%
2. Art Village - 56.0%
3. Cross Company Co., Ltd. - 42.5%
4. tutuanna - 32.6%
5. Baycrew*s Co., Ltd. - 30.9%
6. Heart Market - 27.5%
7. Urban Research - 27.1%
8. Arrow - 26.2%
9. Tabio - 26.1%
10. P & M - 25.9%
11. Point - 20.0%
12. United Arrows - 18.6%
13. Familiar - 18.0%
14. Aoki Holdings - 17.4%
15. Restir Holdings - 16.0%
16. Sock Kobe - 15.8%
17. Crush and Company Group - 15.5%
18. Calm - 14.3%
19. Right-on - 11.9%
20. Beams - 11.3%
05 August 2008
Guthrie to Rep Band of Outsiders
Only the men's line for the time being read on >> Importer and PR agency Guthrie has signed a contract with American brand Band of Outsiders to be its Japan representative for press and sales. Although Band of Outsiders has a ladies line Boy, this current deal only pertains to the men's line.

Band of Outsiders has been sold in Japan for the last few years at prestige places like Beams International Gallery and select United Arrows locations. The high prices, however, have somewhat dampened any wide-scale embrace.
04 August 2008
Leisure Market Down 5.8%
Mostly due to 16% drop in pachinko sector read on >> Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development's "White Paper on Leisure 2008" is reporting a 5.8% drop in the Japanese leisure market for 2007. This is the fifth year of consecutive negative growth.

The primary cause of decline has been the pachinko sector, which declined 16% in 2007. Taking pachinko out of the calculations upgrades the leisure market to nearly 0% flatline rate.

Indoor activities like video games are on the rise, as well as "local amusements" like zoos, museums, aquariums, and gardens. Lottery tickets ("takarakuji"), gardening, jogging/marathon running, and homecoming travel are on the decline.
04 August 2008
Xavel Changes Name to "Branding"
Creator of girlswalker and Tokyo Girls Collection redefines their corporate strategy read on >> Xavel Inc. — the multi-media company behind fashion e-commerce site girlswalker and semi-annual "real clothes" collection show Tokyo Girls Collection — has announced a name change. From October 1, the company will be known as Branding.

The decision on re-naming follows a new strategy to better globalize and expand the company's activities. Xavel is most famous for its e-commerce sites, but branding projects currently make up 25% of revenue. Under the new name, Xavel hopes to increase the percent of branding work to 35% in the near future by adding more re-branding and marketing projects.

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection , e-commerce
01 August 2008
Jimmy Choo Opens Flagship in Ginza
Nine stores in Japan by the end of the year read on >> On July 26, British shoe brand Jimmy Choo opened its new flagship store in Ginza on Miyuki Street. This is the sixth Jimmy Choo store to open in Japan and the fourth in Tokyo.

The free-standing store is 165 square-meters of floor space over two stories.

Jimmy Choo has been actively expanding in Japan ever since its joint venture in 2006 with Bluebell Japan to form Jimmy Choo Tokyo. By the end of the year, there will be nine Jimmy Choo stores in Japan: including an in-shop within department store Seibu Ikebukuro and a roadside store in Daimaru Kobe.

Keywords: Jimmy Choo , Bluebell Japan , Ginza , shoes


Aug 21 2008
Satoru Tanaka
An interview with Japanese designer Satoru Tanaka


Aug 21 2008
Furoku: The Explosion of Magazine Freebies
Magazines revive their fortunes thanks to consumer-friendly free gifts
Aug 07 2008
September Magazine Trend Review
Folklore natural materials and tartan check looking to be big in autumn


Aug 22 2008
Tokyo Street Photos for August
Summer ends and the styles are all over the place