German bag brand MCM was a major hit in Japan in the 1980s but pulled out more than a decade ago due to weak sales. Since being taken over by a Korean retailer, the brand has seen a revival and will relaunch in Japan this month with ambitious plans for sales of ¥10 billion in three years.
MCM is planning a major push into the Japanese market again. Last August it established a new subsidiary, MCM Fashion Group Japan, and has already begun wholesaling to select shops. This month it will open a stand alone store in Ginza with plans to open other freestanding stores in key markets starting with Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka, as well as concessions and corners in department stores. It is forecasting sales of ¥3 billion in year one rising to ¥10 billion in three years.
MCM was a huge hit in the 1980s and early 1990s but then went into decline. Its recent success globally has led to new interest in Japan, with strong sales to young women at key select shops such as Loveless, particularly its backpack models. Average prices are around ¥80,000 with the most popular models at about ¥50,000-60,000.
MCM, which is headquartered in Zurich, was acquired by South Korean fashion retailer Sungjoo Group in 2005. The new owners have since rebuilt the brand for the Asian market. It has 41 stores globally and is planning an IPO in two to three years following strong growth – sales are expected to triple in the next few years from US$500 million in 2013 to US$1.5 billion, with the brand targeting young middle class Asians with affordable luxury bags positioned similarly to Coach and Furla. Apart from Japan, MCM plans to have 72 stores in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan by the end of this year, up from 40.
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