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French brand exits Japan

French handbag company Lancel is to exit the Japan market citing underperformance.

Lancel says it will liquidate its joint venture Lancel Japan, which it formed with Japanese partner Sumitomo Corporation in 2008. Sumitomo owns 70 per cent with Lancel holding the remaining 30 per cent.

Back in 2008, Lancel Japan planned to open 40 to 45 stores including stores in stores in department stores nationwide, together with flagship stores in prime locations in areas such as Ginza, Aoyama, Osaka and Nagoya. However, the joint venture currently operates only seven stores across Japan. 


A spokeswoman at Sumitomo Corporation blamed the underperformance on March 11 earthquake and tsunami and international economic downturn. Completion of the store closures is expected between August and September. The joint venture will be terminated at the end of the year.

A part of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA’s portfolio of brands, Lancel has for more than 130 years created fine leather goods, handbags, wallets, luggage and accessories. Sumitomo Corporation owns a TV shopping business in Japan, and a wide range of portfolios in the retail sector including supermarkets and drugstores. It also represents brands including Barneys Japan, Nara Camicie and Feiler.

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