WWD revealed that elegant Japanese department store Takashimaya which occupies more than 37,000 square feet for retail and office space on New York City's posh Fifth Avenue will close its flagship store in June. The building is owned and controlled by Takashimaya Fifth Avenue Corp. and Takashimaya Singapore Ltd. "Takashimaya said it plans to sell the real estate and dedicate the proceeds to faster growing markets in Asia," the paper reports in a short blurb. [source]
Somehow this reminds me of what I had said (a propos LVMH expanding into new markets via Tony Blair's consulting, scroll the article to the last paragraphs) in regards to the move of western companies into the Asian expansion being the only solution right now. Hermes as we had reported a while ago is even launching an exclusively Chinese line called Shang Xia!
The current issue of WWD reveals that the Takashimaya closing will be effective come 10th of June 2010. "This June, the company will shutter its New York flagship at 693 Fifth Ave., between East 54th and East 55th streets. It has been at the building, which it owns and plans to sell, since 1993, though its first store on the gilded Fifth Avenue strip opened in 1958" [source] while WWD mentioned that the store "will no longer be merging with H2O Retailing Corp., parent company of Hankyu and Hanshin department stores". Apparently not only is the Fifth Avenue store closing but another 6 stores have already closed in Japan. The reason isn't hard to see: Low sales have given the kiss of death. Given that they recently announced carrying the elusive (and unjustly underrated) Mona di Orio line, let's hope it didn't jinx it. (This is only a joke, folks!)
On the whole it was a matter of time before the hen that lays the golden eggs, namely the sector of niche fragrances, becomes oversaturated and confuses the consumer who cannot be fooled into paying, especially in this economy, for triple-the-price concoctions which are made the same way as mainstream fragrances but circulate in a je ne sais quoi way supposed to make them more "luxurious" and "exclusive"...
If interested to follow my thoughts on this track, I had posted an article wondering How Much Will the Niche Market Bear? on this link and recently discussed Niche Degeneration on that link on the Perfumism website.
Pic of Takashimaya New York via Atherton Bartelby