Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Building on its recently announced Japanese expansion strategy, the Gucci Group is planning to transport its spring Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche collection to Tokyo in November to replicate its Paris fashion show in conjunction with a flagship opening there.
Robert Singer, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gucci Group, also said the company continues to have high expectations for growth in Asia despite the immediate impacts of the terrorist attacks in America on the global economy.
“Japan is a huge market where we see major potential for growth,” said Singer, speaking at the Robertson Stephens Consumer Conference at the Pierre Hotel on Thursday.
In May, the company announced it would open 22 stores in the Japanese market by January, incorporating its various brands in a new business prototype called Gucci Group Japan Holding. Its Rive Gauche flagship in the Aoyama shopping district is being developed by creative director Tom Ford and architect William Sofield, who has worked with the company on its various retail developments, including the YSL store that opened on Madison Avenue Sept. 14. Ford and several major models are expected to accompany the collection to Japan for the November event, Singer said.
Singer added that even though the Madison Avenue launch party was canceled owing to the attack on the World Trade Center, the store still saw immediate traffic. In its first weekend, the location logged sales of $250,000, he said, leading him to believe that the company can reach its goal of turning a profit with YSL next year.
In addition, Singer said Yves Saint Laurent will eventually open a store in Milan, taking over the smaller of two current Gucci sites, while the other will be expanded to incorporate Gucci’s full offering of products.