By  on June 10, 2008

TOKYO — Barneys Japan is preparing to open a store in the port city of Kobe in spring 2010 in the first step in a renewed expansion program.

The new store will be the island nation's fourth Barneys, joining the retailer's two outposts in Tokyo and a store in Yokohama, Japan's second-biggest city. Barneys Japan also said it is planning to open more stores in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, and experiment with smaller store formats, e-commerce and outlets.

The Kobe opening represents Barneys Japan's first expansion move since Sumitomo Corp. and Tokio Marine Capital Co. Ltd. bought the retailer from Isetan in 2006, ending a long, acrimonious partnership between Isetan and Barneys New York, which at that time was owned by Jones Apparel Group but is now owned by Istithmar.

The 30,000-square-foot Kobe store will occupy the lower three levels of a hotel building on a shopping strip home to Louis Vuitton and Prada.

First-year sales are projected to be 3 billion yen, or about $29 million.

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