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UPBEAT ON JAPAN: François-Henri Pinault hosted a cocktail party in Tokyo Tuesday night to tout the name change of his family’s company from PRR to Kering. A select group of top fashion editors and retailers gathered at the Puma House to meet with Pinault and the firm’s top managers in Japan.
On the sidelines of his presentation, Pinault spoke enthusiastically about the importance of the Japanese market to Kering’s overall strategy. He said the company’s portfolio of brands is performing well in Japan this year and Kering is busy investing in refurbishing and expanding its retail network in the country. Specifically, he said new Saint Laurent and Balenciaga stores will open in Tokyo early next year. A building currently under construction in the Omotesando-Aoyama area near the iconic Prada store will house both stores. Neither brand has a prominent retail presence in the neighborhood at the moment.
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Pinault also said Kering is considering buying a building somewhere in Tokyo — he would not specify where — to expand some of the brands in its portfolio. Kering’s stable includes Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Puma, Brioni, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.
“It’s not a growing market for sure, but considering the size of the market, it’s still and will remain the number-three market in the world for many, many more years,” he said of Japan. “If you want to be good here, you cannot wait for the market to grow. You need to be better than the others. So it’s a very nice place to test the real strengths of your brand compared with the others.”
Pinault is currently heading to Beijing for a series of business meetings and to attend a state dinner.