WWD.com/business-news/financial/versace-takes-a-break-from-japan-2335314/
government-trade
government-trade

Versace Takes a Break From Japanese Retailing

The Italian house shutters its stores and rethinks its strategy for the market.

TOKYO — Gianni Versace SpA is taking a break from the Japanese market as the company restructures under the stewardship of its new chief executive officer, Gian Giacomo Ferraris.

The company was unhappy with its store locations in the island nation and decided the best course of action was to close its existing stores and start with a clean slate, said a Versace spokeswoman in Milan. Versace has yet to announce when it will reopen stores in Japan, but there has been talk over the past year that the brand is hoping to open a large flagship in Tokyo at some point.

“We are starting a new strategy for Japan,” said a Tokyo-based spokesman.

Luxury brands have been suffering in the current climate as Japan inches its way out of a recession. The economic malaise also has touched brands on the lower end of the price spectrum. On Monday, loss-making French Connection plc revealed plans to close its 21 stores in Japan. Cheap fast-fashion retailers Uniqlo, Hennes & Mauritz and Forever 21 are notable exceptions and thriving in the current market.

Until now, Versace has had a rather limited presence in Japan. This summer, the company shuttered the last of the four freestanding stores it had in the country. It has not had a wholesale business here for several years.

The company will retain a public relations staff of three people in Tokyo, but it will close its communications office this month because the brand won’t be engaging in much editorial with local magazines.