PLAY BALL: Ralph Lauren is taking Rugby international…quietly. On Wednesday, the company opened its first Rugby boutique outside the United States: a 4,300-square-foot store in Tokyo that occupies a large corner of the sprawling Ralph Lauren flagship on Omotesando Ave. The boutique, featuring mosaic floors and wood interiors, attracted a modest line of about 20 or so folks- some decked out in Ralph’s finest- before the doors swung open.
Ralph Lauren feted the boutique with a party Tuesday night but the home office in New York turned down requests for photo previews and interviews to talk strategy.
Rugby, a lower-priced brand than others in the Ralph Lauren stable, is moving into the Japanese market at a time when consumers are definitely trading down to fast fashion and diffusion collections. Hennes & Mauritz, Forever 21 and Topshop are all busy expanding in the country.