Byline: Koji Hirano

TOKYO — Christian Dior will spend $30 million to construct a new flagship building here, as part of its commitment to the Japanese market.
Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of Dior and of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was in town Monday to announce the development, saying the new store would be one of the most important bases for Dior globally, alongside stores in Manhattan and on Avenue Montaigne in Paris.
“The new building is modern and a reflection of the spirit of Christian Dior,” Arnault said.
The new building will open in the heart of the Omote-Sando district, a hot spot for the young fashion crowd. It’s in the same neighborhood where Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci have opened in the last year.
The steel-frame building will have four levels with a basement and a penthouse, for a total of 16,000 square feet.
It will carry Dior’s women’s and men’s collections — including ready-to-wear, handbags, leather goods, shoes, fashion jewelry, sunglasses, watches and other accessories — plus fine jewelry, the home collection and Baby Dior.
Arnault said fiscal 2000 sales of all Dior products in Japan were $77 million, or 11 percent of worldwide business.
“Sales for the first three months of this year are already close to the whole business of last year,” he said.
He projected the new store alone would produce annual sales of about $23 million. (Dollar figures are converted from yen at current exchange rates.)
Dior tapped two local architects for the building, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.
“The time has come when traditional brands are fighting back,” said Toru Kanyama, a fashion analyst here. “Christian Dior never just stays classic. It is now gathering attention and renovating its brand image. For Dior, which has not had a landmark retail space in Japan, Omote-Sando is a better location than Ginza to reach new potential customers.”
In the past six months in Japan, Dior has opened a series of in-store shops, including one at Hanku in Umeda, in the Osaka region, last September; a jewelry corner in the Namikidori store on the Ginza here in February, and a shop in Takashimaya in Kyoto in March. On April 22, a shop is slated to open in the Iwataya store in Fukuoka, the first Dior outlet in the Kyushu region, which is in the southwestern part of the country. That will bring the brand’s total to 16 shops in Japan.

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