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Kitson Sets Sights on Asian Expansion

Kitson plans to open a store in Tokyo in March and two more Japanese locations during the following 18 months.

Kitson is in growth mode.

The Los Angeles-based boutique chain plans to open a store in Tokyo in March and two more Japanese locations during the following 18 months.

The branded stores will be licensed, an agreement that covers as many as 20 Kitson outposts in the country.

“Japan is a big market for us.…It’s really a global market for us, and the Internet has made everything so close,” said Kitson owner Fraser Ross. “Germany is even bigger than Japan for us for some reason; there’s a quirky-cool appeal to the Kitson branded merchandise that plays well in those markets.”

Orders outside the U.S. account for more than 20 percent of the retailer’s online business, Ross said.

The planned expansion in Asia comes as Kitson readies two new Southern California units scheduled to open in the fall, a 15,000-square-foot, department store-style outpost in the new Americana at Brand in suburban Glendale, Calif., and a 7,000-square-foot, two-level store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

In addition, Ross plans to launch men’s and kids’ stores in the Malibu Lumberyard shopping center and will move the existing kids’ store on Robertson Boulevard to a larger, 4,000-square-foot space on the popular retail strip.

Kitson now has four locations in Los Angeles and another in Dubai.