FENDI, AOI ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE
Byline: Courtney Colavita
MILAN — In a bid to boost its presence in Japan, Fendi has announced a joint venture with its long-time distributor there, AOI.
The Roman fashion and accessories house said Wednesday it would control 70 percent of the newly formed company, Fendi Japan K.K., while AOI would control the remaining 30 percent.
AOI, which works with several other Italian brands in a similar capacity, has been Fendi’s key Japanese distributor for more than 30 years.
Fendi said in a statement that the decision was a natural evolution because, “The venture is a manifestation of both Fendi and AOI’s desire to further reinforce their collaboration in developing the Fendi brand in Japan.”
The staff of Fendi Japan will be made up of Fendi and AOI personnel. The aim of the joint venture is to push the Fendi line into major Japanese doors, beginning with the spring-summer 2001 collection.
A spokeswoman added that the new company would ultimately help Fendi grow in other Asian markets.
“Right now, the venture is focusing on Japan, but it certainly will be an advantage as we look to grow throughout Asia,” she said.
Fendi has 47 sales points throughout Japan, including a 1,075-square-foot flagship in Tokyo. In March, the company will unveil a flagship twice that size in Matasuiga.
In 1999, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Prada formed a joint venture to buy 51 percent of Fendi. The five Fendi sisters control the remaining 49 percent.