TOKYO — Japan may be inching its way out of a recession but specialty retailers and fashion brands are still forging ahead with their retail expansion.
Over a two-week period, a flurry of new stores are opening here including Opening Ceremony, Ron Herman, Tom Ford, Rick Owens, Tila March, Brooks Brothers Black Fleece, Kitson and a new retail concept from Issey Miyake.
A large retail and entertainment complex called Marunouchi Brick Square also will open in the city center to house tenants like Land of Tomorrow, Cath Kidson and Brooks Brothers.
Although most observers agree Japan’s future growth prospects are limited as its aging population shrinks and it emerges from a long period of macroeconomic stagnation, it’s clear the country remains a critical market for luxury goods, worth something close to $20 billion. Plus this is an advantageous time to expand here as real estate prices and rental rates linger in the doldrums.
“In some of the cases I suspect there is enough ‘risk-sharing’ with local partners,” said Brian Salsberg, the head of McKinsey Japan’s consumer and retail team.
That said, it remains to be seen just how many of the new stores will outlive their initial burst of novelty and be successful in the longer run, as Takahiro Yamamura, a business professor at Bunka Fashion Graduate University, questions.
“Japanese consumers love new products, new things, anything new. That makes these types of specialty stores very popular at the beginning but nobody knows if it will last,” Yamamura said. “Japanese consumers are also quite fickle.”
All of these brands are entering an increasingly cutthroat atmosphere in what was already one of the most competitive retail landscapes in the world. This most recent burst of activity coincides with the boom of fast fashion here. Brands like Uniqlo, Hennes & Mauritz, Forever 21 and Zara have convinced Japanese shoppers they no longer have to shell out luxury-level prices to look fashionable.
Here, a look at some of the latest additions to Tokyo’s retail scene:
Donatella Versace will receive the International Award at the 2018 @cfda awards, which were announced tonight. Tap link in bio for a list of all the nominees and honorees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @rahirezvanistudio )
The 2018 @cfda Awards nominees are out! @virgilabloh for @off____white for is nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year. Tap link in bio for all the nominees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion ( 📷: @simonelezzi)
@chanelofficial is suing high-end vintage retailer @whatgoesaroundnyc for trademark infringement, a move that could cost the retailer millions. The French fashion house claims that it’s not only unintentionally sold counterfeit goods on occasion, but that it’s “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel,” which does not exist. Read Chanel’s statement on WWD.com #wwdnews (@aitorrosasphoto)
Exclusive: Guillaume Henry has left @ninaricci, the fashion house said on Thursday. “After three years of mutually gratifying creative collaboration, Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry have together decided that the designer will depart the house after the presentation of the fall-winter 2018-19 collection,” Ricci said in a statement. Get all the details on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“When Bella enters a room all heads turn,” said @peterphilipsmakeup, creative and image director for @diormakeup. Last night, the two celebrated the product launch of Dior’s Lacquer Plump in Los Angeles with other celebs like @parisjackson, @winnieharlow and more. Head to WWD.com to see the rest of the photos from the night (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
“These shirts are an art form, it’s about getting the message out to as many people as you can. It breaks down the pretentiousness of the art gallery,” says Kumasi Sadiki, cofounder of @ebayontheblock, a store that sells merchandise by New York artists who are shifting their attention to clothes as a wearable medium. Pictured here is a design by artist @joegarvey_, one of the first to spearhead this movement. Head to WWD.com to read @mistywhitesidell full story on how their designs have become merch for the underground elite #wwdfashion
@netaporter is dedicating a part of its website – called the Fine Jewelry and Watch Destination – to highlight its high-end jewelry. The hub will feature products on the site, as well as incorporate styling advice and educational content about high-priced jewelry items. Get more details on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories
For “The Cher Show,” an upcoming musical based on @cher’s life and career, @bobmackie is once again collaborating with the singer in designing the costumes. For decades, Mackie has designed glitzy stage costumes and red carpet looks for the 71-year-old Grammy winner. Pictured here is a sketch of some of the pieces in the wardrobe of the musical, which is set to debut in Chicago on June 12 before making its way to Broadway #wwdeye