TOKYO—Ted Baker is boosting its business in Japan with the relocation and reopening of its flagship store in the Omotesando district of Tokyo, as well as the opening of two new shop-in-shops at department stores.Ray Kelvin, the founder and chief executive officer of Ted Baker, said the brand’s business is doing “very well” in Japan, although he declined to give figures. “We have been expanding our business in Asia over recent years, particularly in Japan,” he said. “Our team have been proactively promoting the brand and raising awareness through multiple pop-up locations in Tokyo.”The British brand’s first store in the Japanese market opened in 2012 on Tokyo’s chic Omotesando avenue and closed last October. The new location will be just slightly off the main road, in a space previously occupied by Marc Jacobs. The store, which is set to open Friday, will comprise 4,500 square feet of selling space on three floors. Two exclusive styles will be available to commemorate the opening: a men’s bomber jacket for 36,900 yen, or $324, and a women’s lace jacquard dress for 74,900 yen, or $659.Other planned openings in Japan include a corner at the Takashimaya department store in Nagoya, which opens Thursday, and a corner at the Marui City department store in Yokohama, opening Feb. 24. These will bring Ted Baker’s retail locations in Japan to a total of seven. Kelvin hopes the brand’s presence will continue to grow.“We will continue develop on the success in Japan, and we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities,” he said. “We’re cautious, thorough, and it has to be right.”Still, Kelvin admits that it is a challenging time for brands in Japan’s accessible luxury market, which continues to become more saturated.“Trade is tough and everything has become more competitive over the years. With the globalization of trends and rapid growth of sales within in e-commerce, customers’ wants and needs have increased too,” the executive said. “We always take a very close look at what product areas we feel resonate the most with our customers in specific areas and look to enhance the offer accordingly. We are developing the brand in exactly the same way we have in any other market: diligently, carefully and with passion. The focus will remain on product, environment and service.”Kelvin also acknowledged the growing importance of e-commerce, although at the moment the company has no concrete plans to grow its online presence in Japan. Currently, Ted Baker is only available online in Japan through the multi-brand site Zozotown.“Considering the importance of e-commerce and with almost all customers making a combination of online and in store purchases, it’s important for us to remain agile and ahead of the curve in this area of the business,” Kelvin said. “The world is going digital and we at Ted are very aware and on board with this. All of our campaigns have a 360 approach with online, e-commerce, social media and the in-store environment each being very carefully considered. The most important thing for us, is our customer… There is nothing that compares with the theater and face-to-face interaction with our customers in store. Without them, we would be a mere shadow of the brand that we have now become.”Kelvin said that each of Ted Baker’s stores is unique and draws inspiration frm the local culture, heritage and environment, but with a British twist. The new Tokyo store will be no different.“The concept behind the new Omotesando store draws inspiration from Japan being famed as the global frontrunner in research and development of robotics and artificial intelligence,” he said.This will be realized by the inclusion of such elements as wall panels inspired by computer circuit boards, technical blueprints, steel, brass, masses of decorative wires, and innovative light boxes. These will combine with digital displays and mechanised components such as robot arms to create the feeling of a sartorial robotics workshop.
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