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MUSICAL CHAIRS: The retail scene in Tokyo's Roppongi district is bracing for a major shake-up come this spring. Rival shopping and residential/office complexes Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown are both renovating and changing up their roster of stores.
In at least one case, a high-profile luxury brand is jumping ship from one development only to open at the other. Bottega Veneta is preparing to shutter its Tokyo Midtown location only to open around the corner at Roppongi Hills, a few weeks later. A Bottega Veneta spokesman declined to comment on the logic behind the move.
Roppongi Hills, which first opened in 2003, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this April. The development's owner, Mori Building, has planned several commemorative events to take place throughout the year and is bringing in about 40 new tenants this spring including Issa London, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and several Japanese brands.
As part of Roppongi Hills' facelift, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Max Mara and Japanese handbag brand Samantha Thavasa have closed their doors. Others, such as Armani Jeans, are simply relocating to elsewhere within the development.
This April, Tokyo Midtown will open 42 new or refurbished shops and restaurants. These new entries include Ron Herman, Valextra and Mackintosh Philosophy, a Japanese diffusion line of the British raincoat brand. John Eshaya's brand Jet, denim label Jacob Cohen and Adeam, a new brand designed by Hanako Maeda, are also coming into the complex with their first stores in Japan.