Look buys Laisse Passe

Apr 15

Look has increased its share of the premium imported brand market in apparel, accessories and footwear through assiduous signings and investment in the last five years. It now plans to expand its own retail brands into Marui and the better shopping centres, acquiring womenswear retailer Laisse Passe last month to accelerate the process.

Look, the distributor of brands such as Tory Burch and La Perla, acquired womenswear retailer Laisse Passe last month, buying 80% of the shares. Laisse Passe is an SPA retailer targeting women in their 20s and 30s with two chains, Laisse Passe and Debut de Fiore. It had 30 shops and sales of ¥2.5 billion in the year ending August 2013. The existing management will remain in place.

Look is largely focused on the distribution business, but has a substantial retail portfolio of its own through brands like Tory Burch, Vince Camuto, Paul & Joe and A.P.C.. Most of these are either stand alone or in department stores, and Look is now planning to build its own premium mass market retail business targeting the younger market in chains like Marui and the more premium SCs. It will use Laisse Passe’s skills in this area as a base, and link those with the considerable apparel sourcing and supply chain management know how of its subsidiary Look Mode, as well as key trading partner Mitsubishi Shoji Fashion.

Look’s five year plan through to 2016 calls for sales of ¥45 billion, up from ¥36 billion in FY2011, and profits of ¥2.2 billion. Sales have already hit ¥41.5 billion as of FY2013, up 12% on the year, and on its current form, sales of ¥50 billion look more likely. Look has been firing on all cylinders recently, with sales growing fast from popular brands like Tory Burch, Marimekko and Repetto, and new deals in the last three years with promising brands like Vince Camuto and Deux Leux.

Despite a troubling decade to 2008, Look has emerged as one of the most respected distributors of overseas brands, noted for adroit brand marketing and a willingness to invest in prominent stores to raise brand visibility in a crowded market place.