Delvaux sets up shop in Japan

Jun 15

One of the oldest and most exclusive European bag brands is finally coming to Japan thanks to investment by Li & Fung. Delvaux will open here in August and plans a string of stores and concessions over the next five years.

Delvaux, the Belgian bag brand which claims to be the oldest leather goods manufacturer in the world, will open a flagship store in Tokyo this summer. Established in 1829, the Brussels-based firm began making leather travel trunks and other travel goods to feed the growing enthusiasm for foreign travel in newly independent Belgium.

The 180 sqm flagship will be on the street level of the Gyre building and a pre-opening will be held this month until June 22 – a gallery space showing off the brand’s collections and long history. Delvaux Japan also set up a pop up store within Hankyu Umeda in April to showcase the brand to Kansai consumers.

The opening of the Omotesando store follows the creation of a Japanese subsidiary in January this year, itself the result of the brand’s acquisition by Li & Fung’s investment arm, First Heritage Brands, in 2011. Since then a new CEO, Marco Probst, has been brought on board and tasked with taking the brand into international markets.

Subsidiaries in Hong Kong, France and China were set up last year, including stores in Gallerie Lafayette and Le Bon Marché, with future plans to establish in the UK also in progress – shops in London’s Mount Street and Shanghai are expected this Autumn. The Japanese subsidiary will get plenty of support from both head office as well as Li & Fung’s Japanese arm Kanematsu Textile. Over the next five years, around 15 doors will be opened in Japan, including concessions. In four years the brand expects global sales of some ¥13 billion, of which 30% are likely to come from Japan.