UK luxury fashion company Mulberry has signed an agreement with its licence partner Onward Global Fashion to form a 50:50 JV company to run its business in Japan.
Mulberry says the new company will benefit from its digital and brand-building capabilities coupled with Onward’s experience in distributing luxury brands in the Japanese market.
“The joint venture will advance the group’s strategy of directly participating in key international luxury markets while continuing to refine its positioning in the UK,” says Mulberry.
To be called Mulberry Japan, the new entity will have its headquarters in Tokyo. It will develop the group’s retail, digital, omnichannel and wholesale business in Japan and is expected to be “profit neutral” for Mulberry during the two-year development phase.
Mulberry and Onward will be equal partners. Between them they will invest ¥400 million (US$5.8 million) to provide funds to develop the distribution network and build the brand’s presence.
Mulberry CEO Thierry Andretta says the firm sees Japan as a “significant growth opportunity” and that in Onward it has a partner with extensive luxury goods experience and a robust infrastructure that will enable Mulberry to advance its international retail and omnichannel strategy.
The distribution platform currently comprises a new Mulberry store in Tokyo Ginza G6, two concessions (one each in Osaka and Tokyo), wholesale and Mulberry.com.
Already this year the company has set up Mulberry Asia as a JV with Challice to run the group’s business in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.