FERRAGAMO’S ASIAN DEAL: Salvatore Ferragamo SpA and Hong Kong trading giant Li & Fung Ltd. have formed a joint venture to manage the Italian company’s accessories and clothing business in Southeast Asia. The new entity is named Ferragamo Singapore Pte. Ltd. Previously Li & Fung served as Ferragamo’s distributor in the area, where there are currently nine Ferragamo boutiques. The company declined to disclose details of the deal.

GUCCI’S JAPAN PLAN: Gucci will open a 10,800-square-foot flagship in Tokyo’s Ginza district in spring 2005, underscoring the group’s intention to strengthen its presence in Japan. The building housing the store, acquired by Gucci for an undisclosed sum, will also provide 41,040 square feet of office space for the group’s Japan headquarters, common space and parking areas."Japan is the most important market in the luxury goods industry," said Domenico De Sole, president and chief executive of the group, in a statement. "Gucci will benefit enormously — both strategically and financially — from this initiative." The Gucci brand has seven freestanding stores and 37 in-store shops in Japan; other labels in the group have 65 directly operated stores, and YSL Beauté has 65 corners in department stores throughout the country. Last year, Gucci posted sales of $538.1 million (converted from euros at the current exchange rate) in Japan, which accounted for about 20 percent of total group sales.

CHANGES AFOOT: Sergio Rossi said Massimo Braglia left his position as chief executive officer. Braglia joined Sergio Rossi at the end of 1999, when Gucci Group took control of the high-end footwear firm. A Gucci spokesman declined to comment on the departure. Marco Gentile, the company’s chief financial officer, will replace Braglia in the interim.

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