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04 February 2009
Sanki to Import Casely-Hayford
read on >> Fashion importer Sanki has signed an import and sales contract with British men's brand Casely-Hayford, starting with the autumn 2009 collection.

Sanki will use select shops as the main distribution channel for the brand.

Sanki projects ¥150 million in sales for the first year and ¥300 million in sales by the third year. 
02 February 2009
Ermenegildo Zegna Opens Flagship in Shinjuku
read on >> On January 30, Italian men's brand Ermenegildo Zegna opened its new five-story luxury tower in Shinjuku. The 700 square-meter shop is the first flagship for the brand in Asia and the largest retail space in Zegna's history.

The new tower is Ermenegildo Zegna's third major retail space in Shinjuku alone, with in-shop stores inside Isetan Shinjuku and Takashimaya Shinjuku.
02 February 2009
H&M Reports ¥2.1 Billion in Sales for First Two Tokyo Stores
read on >> In its full-year financial report announced on January 29, Swedish fast fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz — aka H&M — announced net sales of over ¥21 billion (198 million Swedish kronor) for its first two Tokyo stores in Ginza and Harajuku, for the period up until the end of November 2008. According to the offical press release, these results "surpassed the company’s high expectations and were H&M’s most successful store openings ever."

H&M will open two more Tokyo stores in 2009: Shibuya and Shinjuku.
30 January 2009
Uniqlo Looks to New York for Designers Invitation Project
read on >> Japanese mass retailer Uniqlo has announced four new collaborators in its Designers Invitation Project: Steven Alan, Shipley & Halmos, Opening Ceremony, and Gilded Age. All four brands are based in New York.

Sales for the DIP collaboration goods will begin in March.

Preliminary photos of the project here: http://www.uniqlo.com/dip/jp
29 January 2009
Itochu to Import 313 and Arne & Carlos
read on >> Trading company Itochu Corporation has signed exclusive sales and import contracts with two European brands: Italian down jacket maker 313 and Norwegian knit brand Arne & Carlos.

Almond Eye will be the direct importer and distributor, selling to specialty stores across Japan from autumn 2009.

Itochu expects ¥1 billion in retail sales for each brand within three years.
29 January 2009
Fast Retailing Announces Take-over Bid for Link Theory Holdings
read on >> On January 28, Fast Retailing — parent company to mass retailer Uniqlo — announced a take-over bid to make equity method affiliate Link Theory Holdings into a wholly-owned subsidiary. Fast Retailing's board voted to actualize the plan through acquiring outstanding common stock, new share subscription rights, and warrant bonds. Link Theory Holding's board has agreed to the buyout.

The move comes in light of Link Theory Holdings' worsening financial situation. The company projects losses of ¥4.3 billion for the February 2009 midterm balance sheet. Fast Retailing hopes to use the buyout as a way to deepen its commitment to Link Theory's business, ultimately restoring growth potential and profitability.

Fast Retailing first invested into Link Theory in 2004 and currently owns 32.32% of its common stock.

Link Theory Holdings operates global brands Theory and Helmut Lang.

28 January 2009
Zechia Breaks from Unit & Guest
read on >> Japanese avant-garde ladies brand Zechia has decided to go independent, leaving the auspicies of previous owner — fashion importer Unit & Guest. The designers cited "a divergence in opinions on direction" as the reason for the move. Designer LICA wants to expand the brand's activities beyond fashion, into the realms of environmental protection and art.

Zechia's designers LICA and NAKA originally hail from the Harajuku-based brand 20471120. They will now operate Zechia within their own company Tra I Venti, formed in 1994.

Zechia will not participate in the upcoming AW '09-'10 Japan Fashion Week.

Unit & Guest is the Japanese importer and agent for foreign brands such as Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg, and Madison Marcus. The company is a subsidiary of Sanei International.

Images from Zechia's SS '09 Japan Fashion Week show available here.
22 January 2009
IPGI to Open Galliano Flagship in Omotesando Hills
read on >> IPGI Inc. — International Property Global Investments — has announced a March 6 opening for the new Galliano flagship store in shopping building Omotesando Hills. The store will open on the first floor of the complex, at a total 86 square-meters.

The company also plans to set up a corner for the brand in department store Isetan's Shinjuku location, on the fourth floor.

IPGI signed an exclusive sales and import contract with Galliano last year. The company plans 6 to 7 retail locations for Galliano within three years.
22 January 2009
Louis Vuitton to Open Two New Stores
read on >> Louis Vuitton Japan has announced the opening of two new locations.

On February 28, the two-story Louis Vuitton Iyotetsu Takashimaya will open in the Iyotetsu branch of Takashimaya department store, located in Matsuyama, Shikoku. On March 14, a Louis Vuitton will open in Kashiwa, Chiba.
20 January 2009
National Department Store Sales Down for Twelfth Straight Year
read on >> On January 19, the Japan Department Store Association (JDSA) released the national department store sales figures for 2008, and they were not pretty. Net sales for the 91 companies and 280 stores in the association was ¥7,813 billion — a -4.3% decrease from the previous year. This was the twelfth consecutive year of sales decline.

Tokyo and Osaka area department stores saw nearly identical drops in revenue at -4.2% and -4.1%, respectively. Nagoya meanwhile,experienced a -7.8% decline for the year.

In terms of individual months, only February brought an increase on the previous year, at the meager 0.9%. All other months had fewer sales than 2007.

Apparel in particular was down -6.2% nationwide, -6.4% in Tokyo. Womenswear declined -6.7% nationwide and -7.0% in Tokyo.

The JDSA placed most of the blame on the worsening economy and weakened consumer expenditure.
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