Fast fashion leader acts to cash in on weak yen

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Fast fashion leader acts to cash in on weak yen

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E-Land’s fast fashion brand SPAO will enter in the Japanese fashion market by opening two stores in Ario mall in Sendai and Lulu Port in Yokohama on July 12. At the Ario Mall, above, E-Land opened its womenswear SPA brand Mixxo store earlier in March. Provided by the company

E-Land is tapping into the Japanese fast fashion market with its SPAO brand in July to piggyback on that country’s boost in consumption thanks to the weak yen.

“We will open SPAO’s first and the second stores on July 12 in LuLuport Yokohama and Arai shopping mall in Sendai to accelerate our SPA [specialty retailer of private label apparel] business in Japan. We also plan to showcase new trends in the Japanese casual SPA market by differentiating SPAO with specific business product lines and casual clothing in a variety of colors,” a spokesperson for E-Land Group said yesterday.

The Korean fashion retailer’s SPAO brand will compete by offering more business product lines that target consumers in their 50s.

About 40 percent of its products will be men’s casual wear, 35 percent women’s casual clothes, 15 percent formal business products and 10 percent miscellaneous goods.

In March, E-Land opened two stores featuring its women’s wear SPA brand Mixxo in Japan.

The Japanese casual fast fashion market is dominated by Uniqlo, which operates 1,000 stores.

To compete with Uniqlo, E-Land has teamed up with Japanese retail giants and real estate developers.

The company signed a long-term business contract with Japan’s No. 1 retail group, 7&I, when it launched Mixxo in Japan. The SPAO store in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture in the northern part of Japan, will be the third opening with the 7&I.

In addition, the fashion retailer signed a five-year contract with real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan, part of Mitsui Group, which owns about 70 malls.

The SPAO Yokohama store will be on the third floor of Mitsui Fudosan’s LaLaport Yokohama, one of the largest commercial facilities in Kanagawa Prefecture with 370 shops and restaurants as well as cultural facilities.

E-Land, which pioneered the Korean fast fashion market with the launch of SPAO in 2009, plans to expand 10 stores in Japan by next year and 30 by 2015.

In 2014, it is scheduled to open SPAO stores in Shinjuku and Harajuku, the core commercial areas in Tokyo.

E-Land said its sales target by 2015 is 150 billion won ($135 million) but expects to achieve the goal earlier considering Japan’s economic recovery.

“How quickly we enter the market is the key to success. SPAO, which comes with the core competencies of affordable prices and a differentiated product mix, has caught the perfect timing as reviving consumer sentiment in Japan along with other external factors promise great elasticity in the initial market entry,” said Lee Geun-seok, regional director of the E-Land Japan.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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