TOKYO — Japan’s Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. said Wednesday that it is buying 44.99 percent of department store operator Barneys Japan Co. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum from a fund operated by Tokio Marine Capital Co. Ltd.
Seven & i, which owns the international chain of 7-Eleven convenience stores as well as the Sogo and Seibu department stores in Japan, said it is buying out Tokio Marine Capital’s entire stake in Barneys Japan. Sumitomo Corp. will retain its majority stake of 50.01 percent in the retailer, which has a licensing agreement with Barneys in the U.S. to use the Barneys New York name for its stores and private-label merchandise.
Seven & i said it has been working to develop its Sogo and Seibu chains into “new department stores.” The company said it wants to capitalize on Barneys Japan’s product merchandising and visual merchandising expertise to strengthen its product development capabilities and private-brand goods.
Seven & i expects to generate synergies with Barneys Japan “at an early stage” and envisages forming alliances in the e-commerce field as well.
Barneys Japan “maintains profitability based on a high gross margin ratio and strong brand loyalty from excellent, highly discriminating customers,” Seven & i said.
For the year ending February 2013, Barneys Japan posted sales of 19.52 billion yen, or $238.17 million at average exchange rates for the period, according to Seven & i. Barneys Japan currently has a network of 10 stores, including five outlet stores.
A spokesman for Seven & i said the company is declining to provide further details on its department store strategy at this time. A Barneys Japan spokesman declined to comment beyond the Seven & i release.