By  on November 11, 2004

TOKYO — While competition is intensifying between famous import brands in the Japanese fashion market, Coach Inc., working through Coach Japan, has launched a flagship in Osaka, the nation’s second-largest city and Western business hub.

The two-floor store, with 6,552 square feet of space, is the latest addition to a network of more than 100 retail outlets including four flagships the American company operates in this country, according to Coach Japan. Still another store as large as the Osaka facility is set to bow in Sendai on Dec. 30.

Coach’s Japanese sales have tripled since it entered the Japanese market in 2001, to a level of 30 billion yen, or $283 million at current exchange, for the year ended in June, making it the second- largest marketer of upscale import handbags and accessories here. It is surpassed only by Louis Vuitton, according to a Coach Japan study.

The Kansai area, encompassing Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, is still an untapped market for Coach’s products, which hold a great growth potential, Coach Japan said. The Osaka store, located in the Umeda Harbis ENT fashion shopping center by the Central Osaka Station, features interiors that combine maple, walnut, limestone and other warm-tone natural wood and materials with mirror-polished steels.

A full line of Coach merchandise is showcased in the new store — handbags, men’s and women’s leather goods, business cases, luggage and other travel items, watches, hats, accessories, jewelry, apparel, outerwear and eyewear.

Coach Japan is a joint venture with Sumitomo Corp., one of Japan’s largest trading companies.

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