GUCCI ENTERS CHINA, NAMES HEAD FOR JAPAN
Byline: Sara Gay Forden
MILAN — Gucci Group NV announced a slew of developments Tuesday, including the appointment of a new president for Gucci Japan, its first store openings in China and the acquisition of a majority stake in one of its Italian franchises.
Toshiaki Tashiro, former president of Barneys Japan, has been appointed president of Gucci Japan, effective March 1, according to Gucci chief executive officer Domenico De Sole. Tashiro succeeds Jean Klee, who will be assuming a new, Hong Kong-based position as senior consultant for Gucci operations in Southeast Asia and China.
De Sole also reported that Gucci’s first two stores in China opened last Saturday, one in Beijing in the Palace Hotel and one in Shanghai’s Maison Mode, a shopping center. The selling space in the Beijing store is about 1,200 square feet, while the Shanghai store is about 1,600 square feet.
“We were only planning initial sales of about $2,000; instead we did about $11,000 in each one,” said De Sole of the weekend’s business.
“We are very pleased. The launch of our operations in China is an initial step in developing our presence in this large and fast-growing market,” he added. “We view the Chinese market as important to our long-term growth potential.”
De Sole further said that Gucci has bought a majority stake in Gucci Venezia Srl as part of its strategy of consolidating control over its distribution. The financial terms were not disclosed.
Gucci Venezia controls five Gucci stores in Italy, including a flagship store and a smaller boutique in Venice, as well as stores in Treviso, Verona and Padova. Gucci now has 76 directly operated stores and 77 franchise stores throughout the world.
As for Barneys Japan, it has not yet named a successor for Tashiro. A joint venture between Barneys New York and Isetan Co. Ltd., Barneys Japan operates two freestanding Barneys stores in Japan, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku section and Yokohama, and a Barneys shop inside an Isetan store in Singapore.
Tashiro, a merchant, was one of the last holdouts of the former Isetan management team under Kuniyasu Kosuge, who resigned as Isetan president in May 1993. A group with a financial and banking background replaced the Kosuge team.