LONDON — In a bid to penetrate the Japanese market more swiftly, Jimmy Choo plans to take full control of its retail joint venture with Bluebell Japan Ltd.
The company said Thursday it will buy Bluebell’s 50 percent stake in Jimmy Choo Tokyo KK for an undisclosed price and transform the business into a fully owned subsidiary overseeing retail and wholesale.
The business will operate 16 existing stores and two others set to open in the coming months: an 864-square-foot unit in Umeda Daimaru and a 648-square-foot store in Nihonbashi Takashimaya.
Bruno Bernon, currently brand manager in charge of the joint venture, will be promoted to president of Jimmy Choo Tokyo KK, reporting to Jimmy Choo’s global chief executive Joshua Schulman. Bernon’s team will remain intact.
“This is a significant transaction for us, and the new ownership structure will allow us to grow the business and get closer to the customer,” said Schulman.
He added that while Japanese sales had grown 32 percent last year and double-digit growth is expected this year, the brand is still “under-penetrated” in the region and not present in cities such as Sapporo and Kyoto.
“We’re working on plans now to move into those cities. Now that the Japanese business is integrated into our own, we’ll be able to move at a faster pace,” he said, adding the challenge is always “finding the right real estate and adjacencies.”
Growth, he said, is coming from like-for-like sales, store openings and from customer conversion. “What we’ve seen is customers shifting from the big brands to the emerging ones. That is one reason we’ve been able to grow in what has been a challenging market for many brands,” he said.
Jimmy Choo, he said, is viewed in Japan as a luxury lifestyle accessories brand with shoes at its core, rather than a stand-alone shoe brand. He said Jimmy Choo’s bags and small leather goods have a higher penetration in the market than footwear.
Jimmy Choo formed the joint venture with Bluebell in 2006, when the brand entered the Japanese market. Bluebell will continue to act as the Japanese distributor of the new Jimmy Choo fragrance, produced under license by Inter Parfums. The fragrance launches in Japan this month and will be in-store by May.
Schulman added that Jimmy Choo will continue its joint venture with Bluebell for the Hong Kong market. Jimmy Choo opened a regional headquarters in Hong Kong in December and named Wannie Suen to the position of senior vice-president Asia, a new role for the company.
Jimmy Choo has 30 stores in the Far East, India and Australia, not including the Japanese units. Suen, he said, will oversee relationships with local partners and franchisees in the region.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye