17 December 2008
Louis Vuitton Pulls Out of Plan for Ginza Store
Would have been the world's largest read on >> After months of industry gossip, Louis Vuitton Japan finally confirmed on December 16 that the company has pulled out of its original plan to open the world's largest LV store on Harumi-doori in the upscale Tokyo neighborhood of Ginza. LVJ blamed the retail pullback on the slowdown in global luxury sales as well as unresolvable conflicts with the real estate company Hulic.

The new Ginza store would have been 12,000 square-meters over twelve floors and housed a LV-branded restaurant.

LVJ also announced that sales for the brand dropped 7% compared to the previous year for the first nine months of the current fiscal year.

Keywords: Louis Vuitton , Ginza
16 December 2008
Point Acquires Trans Continents Trademark
To launch new stores in February 2009 read on >> Apparel maker Point — home to popular youth brands Lowry's Farm, Hare, and Jeanasis — has acquired the trademark of select shop Trans Continents (TC) from original rightsholder T.C. Terminal.

In April, catalog sales company Image Holdings — the parent company to T.C. Terminal —  announced the liquidiation of Trans Contients in response to the brand's ¥800 million losses. Image acquired Trans Continents and T.C. Terminal in 2004, but the catalog sales firm did not have the retail know-how to made Trans Continents profitable. The liquidation will continue on as planned, with Point using only the brand name and rebuilding the brand within their own retail and distribution networks.

Point will relaunch Trans Continents in February 2009, with the first store slated for Kawasaki Lazona. TC will continue to target men and women in their 30s.

Keywords: Point , select shops
15 December 2008
Sanyo Shokai Revises Earnings Projections Downward
Revenues readjusted -4.3% from October projections read on >> Apparel giant Sanyo Shokai has lowered its earning projections for the fiscal year ending in December 2008. This is Sanyo's third projection adjustment for the year.

Total consolidated revenue for FY2008 was revised ¥6 billion downwards (-4.3%) from the October adjustment to ¥132 billion. Projections for operating profits were almost halved — down 37.5% to ¥5 billion. Similarly, normal profit projections were adjusted downwards 38.1% to ¥5.2 billion. Net profits are now expected to stand at ¥2.3 billion — a 65.2% drop from the original figures offered in October.

Sanyo Shokai blamed the lower projections on the global financial crisis' impact on consumer spending, a reduced value in securities investments, and the cancellation of an April contract with Haseko Corporation to buy the Shiomi Product Center and Shiomi Building. The latter transaction was slated to bring Sanyo Shokai a ¥6.7 billion sales profit, but instead, the company will only register an extraordinary profit of ¥3.87 billion from the cancellation fee.

Keywords: Sanyo Shokai
12 December 2008
H&M's First Osaka Store Slated for Spring 2010
Within Marubeni's new complex Luz Shinsaibashi read on >> Marubeni has announced the opening of Swedish fast-fashion chain H&M's first Osaka store, slated for Spring 2010. The store will be the core tenant in Marubeni's new Luz Shinsaibashi seven-story complex in the relatively-young metropolitan Shinsaibashi neighborhood. H&M is expected to take up the first four floors.

Update 12/15/08: On December 13, Senken Shimbun reported that H&M will open a store in a new building planned to be built in Yokohama's Sakuragicho Station in autumn 2009. H&M will take up the first floor, at around 3,300 square-meters of selling space. Developer TOC would not officially confirm the H&M tenancy, however.

Keywords: H&M
09 December 2008
Baycrews Group Sees Big Increases in Consolidated Income
15.9% increase in revenue, 24.5% increase in normal profits read on >> Apparel retail company Baycrews — parent to select shops Journal Standard, Édifice, and Deuxième Classe — has reported large increases in consolidated earnings for its fiscal year ending in August 2008. The company saw ¥48.591 billion in total sales — a 15.9% increase over the previous year. Normal profits stood at ¥3.893 billion — a 24.5% increase.

Womenswear — which accounts for 69% of the company's earnings — increased 15.6%. Although the existing store base for apparel saw only a 4.7% increase in sales, the store's accessory shops Barrault (bags) and Hirob (watches) both experienced a 69.9% rise in revenue.

In terms of specific stores, the "natural" style of Journal Standard did particularly well with women, and men's select shop Édifice also had a good year.

Baycrews now operates 141 stores (124 apparel / 17 lifestyle).

Keywords: Baycrews
08 December 2008
"Black Comme des Garçons" to Open on Kotto-doori
In the footsteps of the Louis Vuitton collaboration store read on >> In the Kotto-doori space currently occupied by the Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons collaboration line store, Comme des Garçons (CdG) will soon open a new boutique called "Black Comme des Garçons." The shop will open sometime in January 2009 and only be open for two months. The products will all revolve around the theme of "black" — mostly culled from the current CdG lineup, with the inclusion of a few limited-edition goods.

Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons will close on December 14.

Keywords: Comme des Garçons
08 December 2008
Mitsubishi Forms Business Alliance with Aeon
Mitsubishi takes 5% of Aeon's shares, Aeon takes 30 billion JPY read on >> As concrete plans will elucidate later this week, trading company Mitsubishi Corporation has formed a business alliance with large-scale shopping center operator Aeon with the aim of expanding business. Mitsubishi will acquire 5% of Aeon's issued shares, thus becoming the largest single shareholder of the company.

Mitsubishi will assist Aeon specifically with overseas expansion and merchandise procurement.

Aeon is expected to procure ¥30 billion from the deal.

This is not the first financial connection between the two firms. In the past, Mitsubishi has provided investment for an Aeon distribution subsidiary.

Keywords: Aeon , Mitsubishi
08 December 2008
IPGI Signs Exclusive Sales and Import Contract for Galliano
Six-to-seven stores planned within three years read on >> Intellectual Property Global Investments (IPGI) has signed an exclusive sales and import contract with Italian companies Ittierre, SpA and Plus It, SpA to sell designer John Galliano's eponymous clothing and accessory lines in Japan. Sales will commence with the AW '09-'10 season.

IPGI aims to open six-to-seven stores for Galliano in Japan within three years, at a revenue base of ¥4 billion.

Keywords: John Galliano , IPGI
03 December 2008
Uniqlo's November 2008 Sales Best in Company's History
Existing store base up 32.2% read on >> Fast Retailing has reported the best November revenues in history for its core brand Uniqlo. Sales for the existing store base were up 32.2% compared to November 2007, while total revenues were up 35.8%.

The number of customers increased 10.4%, while the amount spent per customer increased 9.5%.

Uniqlo attributes the strong sales to a bout of cold weather and subsequent sales of its winter HEATTECH apparel, but steady consumer demand for lower priced fashion certainly continues to fuel the brand's recent success.

More information here.

Keywords: Fast Retailing , Uniqlo
02 December 2008
Dior Drops Prices 8%
Goes into effect starting December 2 on 550 products read on >> Christian Dior has announced an average 8% price decrease on 550 goods in Japan, mostly leather bags and accessories. The price drop will go into effect on December 2.

The stated goal is to provide a more "reasonable" price for the goods in light of the recent drop in the value of the euro.

Keywords: Dior
01 December 2008
Fast Retailing to Expand Manufacturing in Bangladesh
FR forms joint venture CPAT in Singapore read on >> Fast Retailing — parent company to Uniqlo — has announced the creation of a joint venture to expand manufacturing in Bangladesh. The new company CPAT Private will be a joint venture between Chinese company King Jumbo Investment (83%), Fast Retailing (10%), and Bangladesh's Ananta Group (7%). Initial capital will be $80 million, and the company will be incorporated in Singapore.

Uniqlo currently produces 90% of its goods in China, but Fast Retailing hopes to expand the locations of production with this new move.

More information in the official press release.

Keywords: Fast Retailing , Bangladesh , Uniqlo
01 December 2008
Louis Vuitton to Decrease Prices 7% on Average
Prices on almost all goods adjusted to new euro/yen rate read on >> Starting November 29, Louis Vuitton Japan will institute an average 7% price drop on leather goods, accessories, shoes, watches, apparel, and jewelry. The stated reason for the price decrease is adjustment to the lower valued euro.
Keywords: Louis Vuitton
01 December 2008
Renown Confirms Sale of Tokyo and Osaka Office Buildings
8.5 billion JPY from buildings to pay off debt read on >> Confirming a report from October 20, apparel giant Renown has sold its Tokyo and Osaka office buildings in a step towards restoring fiscal solvency. Renown will receive ¥8.5 billion for the sale of the buildings and subsequent real estate. The funds will be used to pay off debt.

The Tokyo office will be sold for ¥6 billion to TOC, while the Osaka building will be sold for ¥2.5 billion to Haseko Corporation. The Osaka transaction, however, will result in a ¥500 million loss on sale — to be posted as an extraordinary loss in the February 2009 fiscal year.

Keywords: Renown


Dec 17 2008
2008: The Year in Trends
A look back at the major consumer trends and hit items from 2008
Dec 05 2008
Magazine Circulation for Late 2008
Takarajima and the Gyaru magazines weather an otherwise unfriendly storm
Keywords: magazines


Dec 18 2008
Tokyo Street Photos for December
Pictures from a relatively warm day in a generally cold month