Marni is buying out its former Japanese distribution partner Bus Stop and lifting its stake in Marni Japan to 100 percent as of Aug. 31. Marni and Bus Stop, a part of Onward Holdings, founded Marni Japan in 2000 as a 50/50 joint venture. The contract was valid until 2010 but Marni decided to end the partnership early and buy Bus Stop's 50 percent stake. Currently Marni Japan has 20 stores, comprising two freestanding boutiques and 18 shop-in-shops. The brand is also making changes on the management front. Masanobu Maeda, a former consultant to the brand, will become Marni Japan’s president effective Sept. 1. He replaces Takehiro Shiraishi, who is returning to Onward’s executive ranks. Maeda said Marni will cut the retail prices of its spring/summer 2009 collection by 10 to 20 percent and introduce more entry-level priced items to combat the weakness in the luxury goods market. Both Salvatore Ferragamo and Bally have made similar initiatives to jumpstart sales in Japan.

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