WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/coach-hits-shibuya-733443/
View Slideshow

TOKYO — Osaka can wait.

This story first appeared in the April 23, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Last week, Coach opened its second flagship in Japan in Shibuya, one of the hippest fashion areas in Tokyo.

Many brands have opened their first freestanding shops in Tokyo and then their second in Osaka, the second-largest city in Japan. However, Coach chose Shibuya in Tokyo after Ginza “because we want to concentrate on this market for a while,” said Ian Bickley, president of Coach Japan Inc.

Other reasons came into play as well, he said: “First, Shibuya is a very important commercial district. Second, Shibuya is the place where young consumers, which is our next target customers, go for shopping and third, Shibuya is the place where our brand name has not penetrated yet.”

Added Reed Krakoff, Coach’s president and executive creative director: “The people are young, fun and embrace fashion.”

Krakoff and Coach chairman and chief executive Lew Frankfort, also on hand for the opening, can’t help but be impressed by the numbers Japan is generating for the firm. Coach Japan Inc., the company’s Japan division, has only been in business for two years; however, sales are expected to reach $158.3 million for fiscal year ending June 30, a 50 percent jump from a year ago. Japan now accounts for about 18 percent of overall sales projected for this year, according to earnings information released Tuesday.

Opening its first shop in Ginza last year “was the turning point for our business to reconsider our original plan,” said Bickley. That store has already generated $16.6 million in its first year, surpassing expectations. “We had an original plan to open three or four freestanding shops in Japan, but we expanded our idea and decided to open six to eight shops, eventually,” said Bickley. The company plans to open three additional stores in Japan this year, as well as 30 in-store shops.

The new 7,300-square-foot flagship is located on Inokashira-dori Street, one of the main streets in Shibuya and close to Seibu Department Store. It has the same design concept as its U.S. stores. The assortment includes men’s and women’s handbags, business cases, luggage, accessories and apparel. The shop also offers exclusive items, such as a straw tote.

To accompany the store opening, Coach used brightly colored flower motifs in its advertisements and signage, as well as in some of the merchandise. “The colors are bright, cheerful and playful, which represent the Coach brand,” Krakoff said. “The daisy is one of our favorite flowers at Coach and the visual is something that started from a sketch for a key fob. I felt that they relay the message that we want the Shibuya consumers to understand: The Coach brand is fun and whimsical.”

View Slideshow