NEW YORK — Tiffany will open its first men’s-only boutique in Tokyo this fall.
The shop, which will be called Tiffany & Co. The Men’s Store, will be located on the first floor of the renovated men’s building of the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku. The size of the shop has yet to be determined, but will be “relatively small,” according to Mark Aaron, vice-president of investor relations for the retailer. “It is part of a bigger reformatting of the Isetan men’s floor, and we’ll be with other high-end brands,” he said.
Mike Christ, president of Tiffany Japan, said in a statement last week, “We are pleased to debut the first Tiffany & Co. store for men in Japan and can think of a no-more-perfect location than the trendsetting Isetan Men’s Store. Tiffany & Co. has a long history of offering men the most sophisticated accessories, and we see this new opportunity as a further evolution of that tradition.”
Tiffany will introduce new merchandise specifically designed for men at the boutique, including a new collection featuring the exclusive Tiffany Lucida diamond set in white gold. The mix will also include Tiffany diamonds set in platinum and 18-karat gold, and designs from Paloma Picasso, Elsa Peretti, Jean Schlumberger and Frank Gehry, along with watches and accessories.
Aaron said Tiffany chose Tokyo for its first men’s boutique because “the people at Isetan have a very exciting store there.” And because men’s jewelry is still a small category for the company. “When our Japanese partner and Isetan said they thought the concept had potential for faster growth,” Tiffany opted to take the plunge.
He said it was premature, however, to view the men’s boutique as the precursor to a significant rollout.
James Hurley, managing director and senior research analyst of Telsey Advisory Group LLC, said he believes the men’s boutique may also help Tiffany jump-start its sputtering Japanese business. “They’ve been trying to reenergize the Japanese business for some time now,” he said. “And the men’s boutique is one way to do it.”
In its first-quarter results released last week, Aaron told analysts on a conference call: “In Japan we think the environment for consumer spending is somewhat challenging.” Total retail sales in Japan declined two percent in the quarter and comps were down seven percent, he noted, “below our expectation that called for virtually flat comps.”
Hurley said the male consumer in Japan is “more open to accessorizing” than in many other countries around the world and is “very fashion-oriented” so Tiffany should find “receptivity in that market.”
He also believes the Isetan boutique will serve as a “ laboratory for not only jewelry and watches, but ties and wallets, which they’ve pulled back on. It will be a place for them to test out new ideas.”
Hurley called the boutique a “bold step” for Tiffany. “It’s good to see them think outside the box.”