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Lanvin, Kate Spade Expand in Japan

Lanvin to launch a women’s version of its young, casual men’s wear brand with local partner Itochu Corp.

TOKYO — Recession notwithstanding, two more fashion brands are plotting to expand their businesses in Japan — albeit in different ways.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Lanvin is preparing to launch a women’s version of its young, casual men’s wear brand, Lanvin en Bleu, with local partner Itochu Corp. Meanwhile, Kate Spade LLC has just inked a deal for a joint venture with Sanei International.

The new Lanvin collection, which will launch next spring, targets women in their 30s. Like its men’s wear counterpart, it will be a Japan-only endeavor.

Itochu plans to open 10 shops in department stores and other shopping destinations within the first year and reach 30 in five years.

Itochu said it expects the Lanvin en Bleu women’s collection to post annual sales of 1 billion yen, or $10.1 million, in the first year and 4.5 billion yen, or $45.5 million, in five years. The collection, which will consist of both apparel and accessories, will hit price points ranging from 20,000 yen, or $202, to 50,000 yen, or $505.

As for Kate Spade, the New York-based company is strengthening its ties to its long-standing Japanese partner Sanei International. The two parties are forming a joint venture to manage Kate Spade’s business in Japan. Sanei will hold a 51 percent stake in the new company, Kate Spade Japan, while Kate Spade LLC will control the remaining 49 percent. The new company will be operational as of Sept. 1.

Sanei, which has been Kate Spade’s Japanese licensee since 1996, said the accessories brand’s business has been strong here. The two parties want to form a more stable partnership for future growth and make “aggressive investments,” the Japanese company said.

Sanei said it is aiming to reach a medium to long-term retail sales target of 9 billion yen, or $90.9 million, from its current level of 5 billion yen, or $50.5 million. Projects include the refurbishment of Kate Spade’s Aoyama store, set to reopen in October, and the launch of Kate Spade apparel sales at select stores in Japan.

Meanwhile, after signing with Taejin International last December, Kate Spade’s Korean distribution is also moving forward. The group recently opened Spade’s first two shop-in-shop locations in Seoul in the Lotte Main and Lotte Jamsil department stores.