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- 21 Apr 2011
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TOKYO, Mature and Resilient in a Time of Crisis


The famed neon of Shinjuku, Tokyo

According to Timothy Schepis, founder & director of Japanese media source Tokyo Fashion Daily…

Japan entered 2011 with high optimism. Even though consumers were less conspicuous and aspirational in their shopping, they began spending again. Tokyo luxury retailers were coming off of strong December same-store-sales and new lifestyle brands Reed Krakoff and Michael Kors entered the Japan luxury market, with flagship boutiques in Tokyo. Japan Fashion Week was increasing in size and popularity and was becoming a must-attend event for foreign buyers and press.

As the economy was improving and consumer spending on luxury goods with it, the unthinkable happened – a natural disaster of untold destruction. Although the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in the northern part of Japan did not affect the infrastructure of Tokyo, it did affect the consumer psyche; luxury brands temporarily closed their doors, relocated their Tokyo headquarters to Osaka and both Japanese and foreigners left for safer ground.

Ten days later something wonderful happened: retailers opened their doors, Tokyoites returned, people started shopping again and most of the luxury-brand CEOs I have spoken to since the quake are optimistic. Not only is Tokyo a mature luxury market, it is also resilient – as are the people who live here.

Notes from Luxury Society

Japan has long served as a priority market for luxury, whilst brands may be increasingly focused on India and China, a significant number of big-name manufacturer’s still rely on Japan for an average of 13% of total profit. Even as recently as 2010, Japanese consumers at home and abroad accounted for 24% of all luxury goods sales, reported the New York Times.

Speaking recently at the LVMH annual general meeting, CEO Bernard Arnault expressed his optimism for Japan in the mid-term, suggesting that whilst Louis Vuitton Tokyo stores “are less full than usual" he has "confidence in the capacity of the Japanese to face this situation and perhaps even come back stronger.”


Timothy Schepis is from Philadelphia, USA and has lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan since 2003. Timothy is a leading consultant for Japan`s Fashion and Luxury brand industry for retail, market-entry and media consultation. Over the years, Timothy has developed a strong understanding and established a deep network in the Japan fashion market as well his reputation has extended into the Asian, European and US fashion markets.