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Bally Sees Growth in Japan, Opens Ginza Store

Chief executive Berndt Hauptkorn said men's and high-end products are performing well in the country.

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TOKYO — Bally, which has continued to grow in Japan despite the March earthquake, hosted a cocktail party in Tokyo to celebrate the opening of its new Ginza flagship.

Chief executive officer Berndt Hauptkorn said the brand has posted “good” single-digit growth in the February-to-August period with particular strength in men’s and high-end full-price merchandise. “It’s nothing [like] what we planned. We planned much more but at least we were able to, well, not to shrink but instead to grow,” he said, noting that a sharp decline in tourism to Japan isn’t helping the situation, but it’s starting to improve. “I’ve seen some Chinese buses here today.”

Hauptkorn is doing a lot of traveling these days. Bally recently opened in Turkey and it is preparing to open stores in New Delhi and Mumbai in the coming days; an event is planned for November. “The Indian customer knows Bally,” he said.

Meanwhile, designers Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz made their first trip to Tokyo since joining the Swiss luxury brand from their former perch at Aquascutum. “It feels very quiet,” said Herz, who, with Fidler, went on to Osaka to visit Bally’s store in that city. Fidler acknowledged that it’s a delicate time for Japan: “We hope everything gets itself together and things pick up again and people get their livelihoods back intact…it’s been traumatic.”

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