Thursday, March 25, 2010

Takashimaya: Bad News Ahead

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


  1. Tak has, sadly- had the reek of demise about it for quite some time :(

    Such a glorious space.
    And the only one in the US, too:(

  2. I had heard about this from perfume lovers and I guess it was in the cards...Sad though, very sad. Other NYC places has also closed or being "ushered into the back" (Caron) so it's not very hopeful. Like I had said, I think it's become a saturated market...

  3. That Takashimaya has almost always been weirdly empty, and lately even more so. I'm such a vulture, though -- I'm already hoping for fire-sale prices on their lovely wares!

  4. This is a trgaic turn of events not only for the many employees of this great exclusive retailer but to all of us who yearn for an "upscale" shopping experience.
    The signs were there .. less products and a palpable desperation felt upon entry.
    Too bad. I hope this is not a sign of more to come.

  5. I think an earlier example of this on a less grand scale (less "niche," too?), was over a year ago when Nordstroms in Chicago closed their perfume alcove. The alcove housed, among other delights, actual historic Carons, which you could actually sniff. (Sniffing only, though, on a cotton swab; no samples, in a vial or on your skin.)

    When they closed that down, a number of the "odder" (less well-selling) Carons and Guerlains, small line perfumes, etc. went with. Plenty of Chanel Chance and J'Adore still on the wall, though.

  6. They eviscerated the beauty level a couple of years ago, which didn't please me, but I still loved going in there -- an oasis of quiet and calm. I always had tea in the basement level, or watched the flower arranging. I will miss it very much.

  7. I used to love that store. It was an oasis on 5th avenue... so sad to see them go since they had a great line of products. Guess I should get my way there soon to see what's left! Thanks for the news.

  8. N,

    at least some good out of the gloom. Still, a bad sign...

  9. M,

    yeah, it's sad for the employees and it's doubly sad for perfume lovers, especially since it carried nice lines.
    I'm very much afraid that we will see more to come in the future. The market in my opinion just won't be able to handle so much "niche" product. It's bound to happen sooner or later.

  10. S,

    amazing, thanks for the recounting, just goes to show how only things that sell have a chance. It had always been that way, it's just so more apparent now with the flood of releases. :-(

    (Carons on a cotton swab, now why didn't they at least spray blotters which you could keep as bookmarks?)

  11. M,

    it does create a pang of melancholy, doesn't it. :-( I can see you sipping your tea and watching the flowers in my mind, must have been a quiet solace in the hustle and bustle of NYC.

  12. D,

    like I said to March above, it must have been a solace, so it's sad to see it go. And it carried some nice lines, which were beautifully displayed. I think you should grab what's left that's appealing, it's not like products are remaining anywhere for very long these days, they get chopped off...

  13. The Carons were in bottles that had no atomizer, so swabs actually made sense. I still have my swab with old Nuit de Noel. There was just something so lovely about sitting down on those plush tuffets, ceremoniously pulling out the bottles, huffing...then moving on to browsing the shelves.

  14. This is sad news. I loved going in Tak. Dang.

    I agree with S on the Nordstrom perfume alcove. It was like stepping back into a more elegant time. Perfect little historic bottles, with even more wonderful offerings on the walls....


  15. Oh that's so sad, going to Takashimaya was always such a amazing experience everything was so fancy ;)

  16. I was so sad to hear this news. But, the Takashimaya I'm sad about losing is the one of my childhood. My mother and I used to go there together and it felt like it was our very own personal store even though it was (as Natalie wrote "weirdly") empty, cool but friendly, impossibly elegant, unaffordable . . .

    I am moving back to NYC next week and am looking forward to going there in it's last days. Ah well.

  17. S,

    oh I see now...Definitely made sense!

  18. A,

    you're making me all bleary-eyed now with a nostalgia I can't place. :/

  19. P,

    it's a shame, isn't it...

  20. Julie,

    how poignant...I hope your trip is a good one and by all means, do make use of the (inevitable) sales!

  21. So sad to arrive in NYC yesterday and find the locked doors and note. Does anyone know what happened to Daniella who worked there? She has been selecting my fragrances for years.

  22. Anonymous17:02

    Does anyone know if there is a source to purchase the Takashimaya body fragrance lines? Online source or other


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