DIOR ESTABLISHES UNIT IN JAPAN TO CONTROL ITS WOMEN’S LINES

PARIS — Christian Dior Couture SA said Friday it plans this year to take over the manufacturing and distribution of its women’s apparel and accessories in Japan.
Dior apparel has been manufactured and distributed by Kanebo Ltd. in Japan for 32 years. From May 1997, Kanebo will continue to distribute Dior’s men’s and children’s wear, but Christian Dior KK, a newly formed subsidiary 100 percent owned by Christian Dior Couture, will oversee women’s apparel and accessories distribution in its 17 Japanese stores.
“It will be Dior by Dior chez Dior,” said a spokesman for the designer firm here, explaining that the company aims to have more control over its image.
“The move also allows Dior to retain more of a margin than it could with an outside distributor,” said Jean Weisse, financial analyst at Exane in Paris. “Dior has taken on the same distribution strategy as many luxury goods companies, including Gucci and Hermes.”
The cost of the new operation was not divulged by Dior.
Christian Dior Couture has not published its results for 1996. It posted a 19.9 percent sales gain to $160.8 million (897 million francs) at current exchange in the first nine months of last year.

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