TOKYO—Topshop has closed its five locations in Japan at the end of January, Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reported Tuesday.
Both of Topshop’s flagships in Tokyo are shuttered with signs on their doors stating that they have been closed as of Jan. 31. The Shinjuku store appeared fully stocked with merchandise. The Harajuku store, located in the Laforet mall, was empty but the entire retail complex is currently closed for maintenance work. Phone lines went unanswered at Topshop’s other three stores in Japan as of Tuesday afternoon.
A spokesman for Mori Retail Systems, which helped spearhead the British chain’s expansion in Japan, confirmed that Mori’s partnership with Topshop ended in May. Since then, Mori’s only involvement with Topshop was the running of the Laforet store, he said. The spokesman said Mori received word on Jan. 30 that the Laforet store would be closing at the end of the next business day, although the contract for the store was due to expire at the end of February. The Mori spokesman said Topshop management informed him that the store’s staff had dwindled to a level that the company was no longer able to operate the store.
Topshop, part of Arcadia Group Limited, had major plans for Japan at one stage. Back in 2008, it signed over the Japanese rights to the brand to T’s, a new company jointly financed by Mori and JBF Partners. At that time, the companies said they planned to open “ten or more stores in Tokyo and other major Japanese cities within the next two to three years.” JBF could not be reached for comment.
It was an active time for fast fashion in Japan. Also in 2008, Hennes & Mauritz opened its first store in the country- just down the road from Laforet- with Forever 21 moving in next door shortly thereafter.
“It’s always been on our list of where we feel Topshop and Topman should be,” Topshop managing director Mary Homer said in 2008, just after the brand doubled the size of its Laforet flagship. “[The Japanese are] brave. They sort of break the rules and that’s really what Topshop is about.”
But several years later, Topshop still had a relatively small presence in the country and was operating on a different scale than its rivals. H&M had 51 stores in Japan as of November, according to its website. Forever 21 has 16 stores in the country and Inditex’s Zara has 22 locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area alone, according to both companies’ websites.