ALAIA ARRIVES: 10 Comme Ltd., a joint venture between Comme des Garçons and Carla Sozzani, signed an agreement with Azzedine Alaïa for the exclusive importation and distribution of the designer’s brand within Japan. 10 Comme runs a shop named 10 Corso Como Comme des Garçons in Minami Aoyama, Tokyo.
This story first appeared in the November 11, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Adrian Joffe, president of Comme des Garçons SA, told WWD Japan that the new business is to start in spring 2004. The merchandise will be distributed at stores including Isetan and Barneys New York in Shinjuku and 3rd Culture in Ebisu, Tokyo. “Alaïa is one of my closest friends and I want to have a careful deal for his collection,” said Joffe during a trip to Tokyo. “Profit is not our first concern.” The company has no other plans at this stage to sign with other designer brands, said Joffe, adding, “This is a special case.”
Comme des Garçons SA generated sales of about $18.2 million, or about 2 billion yen, in the fiscal year ended May 2003, a 50 percent increase from two years ago. Dollar figures were converted at the current exchange rate. — Koji Hirano
DICKSON’S DEAL: Just two weeks after announcing that it intended to open Asia’s first Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, Dickson Concepts is making luxury retail news again. The company said that it will buy Hong Kong Seibu Enterprises from its Japanese owners, Seibu Department Stores.
Dickson Concepts already owns 86.46 percent of the upmarket retailer, but has agreed to purchase the remaining 13.54 percent for about $3 million, or $23.22 million Hong Kong. Currently, Hong Kong Seibu Enterprises operates and manages two Seibu department stores in Hong Kong. It also has exclusive rights to open and operate Seibu franchises in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia. — Constance Haisma-Kwok
PORTS GOES PUBLIC: Ports Design, the Hong Kong-based manufacturer and retailer of garments and accessories to the Hong Kong and Chinese market, raised $47.3 million, or HK$367.5 million, from its initial public offering last week. The company listed on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index; the issue price was $1.35, or HK$10.50, and shares ended the first day’s trading at $1.80, or HK$14 — a 33 percent increase.
Ports Design plans to use the capital raised to open stores, primarily in mainland China, and to expand production. It currently has about 250 stores in Hong Kong and China.
Ports Design also has the license to make and sell BMW-branded sportswear and accessories through BMW Lifestyle stores in China. — C.H-K.
SPECIAL K: Los Angeles-based K. Swiss Inc. has appointed Itochu Corp. as master licensee in Japan to manufacture and market all K. Swiss fashion items except footwear through licensing.
Itochu said the company will introduce a range of products under the K. Swiss brand in Japan next spring, including women’s, men’s and children’s casual wear, bags, underwear, socks and hats. Four manufacturers have already signed up for sublicenses and more are expected, Itochu said.
Sales will be channeled through casual wear specialty stores, general merchandise stores, shopping malls and other outlets, Itochu said, adding it anticipates sales of $18.2 million at retail, or 2 billion yen at current exchange, in the first year of business, targeting growth in three years to 6 billion yen.
Itochu, which already holds master licenses in Japan for Converse, Airwalk and New Balance, said the company is turning attention to sport casual brands as part of its new push into lifestyle related segments of the fashion market in Japan. — Tsukasa Furukawa