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Fast Retailing Unveils New Multi-brand Concept

The new store, located in Printemps Ginza, puts several of the company's brands under one roof.

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TOKYO — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. has unveiled its latest retail concept — a two-story store that combines several of its brands under the roof of the Printemps Ginza department store.

The 28,000-square-foot store, called Uniqlo Marché, features dedicated sections for its Uniqlo, Comptoir des Cotonnniers, PLST (an offshoot of Theory) and G.U. brands. The store, which opens today, also houses the first Japanese outpost for French lingerie and swimwear brand Princesse Tam Tam, one of Fast Retailing’s smaller labels.

“I think there are a lot of people who, until now, haven’t known that our company has these different brands, and I think these brands will be successful not just in Japan but also globally,” Fast Retailing chairman, president and chief executive officer Tadashi Yanai said Thursday, adding he would consider rolling out similar retail formats elsewhere, possibly in other countries.

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The new store brings a bit of attention to the Japanese group’s other labels, which tend to live in the shadow of the larger Uniqlo business. Fast Retailing groups these non-Uniqlo assets into its Global Brands division comprising Theory, PLST, G.U., Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse Tam Tam.

Collectively, these brands saw sales rise 23.3 percent to 153 billion yen, or $1.94 billion at average exchange rates, for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31. Operating profit advanced 65.4 percent to 14.5 billion yen, or $184.3 million. The division makes up 16.5 percent of Fast Retailing’s annual revenue.

Fast Retailing has been heavily promoting its budget-conscious G.U. brand lately, employing Harajuku model and electro pop recording artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in the advertising. Fast Retailing is planning to take the brand international in its fiscal year ending August 2014.

“It’s only been six years since [the brand] was born, so I am extremely happy that we are able to open a store here alongside [other Fast Retailing group brands],” said Osamu Yunoki, ceo of G.U.

Elisabeth Cunin, ceo of Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse Tam Tam, said it only makes sense to bring the French lingerie label to Japan.

“Japan is important because we are part of the Fast Retailing Group. How can we enter and not succeed in Japan?” she said, adding that there are plans to open more Princesse Tam Tam stores in Japan but it is too soon to quantify how many.

Fast Retailing does not break out sales figures for Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse Tam Tam. For the most recent fiscal year, the company said Comptoir des Cotonniers “struggled” in the first half and recovered in the second. Princesse Tam Tam reported a “flat performance.”

Both brands are heavily exposed to a challenging European market, but Cunin said they did well given the circumstances thanks to loyal customer bases and strong brand images.

“I believe we’re small enough to be able to grow whatever the market and strong enough in terms of brands to be able to grow whatever the types of markets,” she said.

Princesse Tam Tam, which has a wholesale presence in New York at Bloomingdale’s, is planning to open its own stores in the city over the next few years, said Pierre-Arnaud Grenade, director general and chief operating officer of Princesse Tam Tam.

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