ESPRIT SETS 1ST JAPANESE UNIT

Byline: Koji Hirano

TOKYO--Esprit will open its first store here in October at the Mitsukoshi department store in Yebisu Garden Place, a newly developed commercial center.
The 1,500-square-foot shop will be run by Esprit Retail Japan, the sole Japanese importer and distributor of Esprit products. ERJ is a wholly owned company of Esprit Far East.
"We don't want rapid expansion of the business. We prefer a sound increase in the number of loyal customers of Esprit," said Setsuko Ohkura, vice president of Esprit Retail Japan. "Japanese consumers' lifestyle has changed, and the market has become ready to accept Esprit products."
Plans include further expansion of in-store shops and freestanding stores throughout Japan over the next few years, according to the company.
All the merchandise will be manufactured at about 200 contractors, mainly in Asia, and Esprit's own factories in China.
Merchandise will include T-shirts at $38-$58, sweaters at $88-$128 and jackets at $280. Japanese prices will be around 1.3 to 1.4 times as much as those in Hong Kong.
Projected sales for the first year were not released.
Another Esprit company--Esprit Japan, which is wholly owned by Esprit International in the U.S.--has been supervising licensing business and doing research on the Japanese market since 1983.
--Fairchild News Service

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