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Published
Jul 7, 2017
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Mulberry links with licensee Onward for Japan joint venture

Published
Jul 7, 2017

Luxury fashion and accessories brand Mulberry has added another joint venture (JV) in Asia with news that it has signed an agreement with existing license partner Onward Global Fashion to form a 50:50 JV company to operate its business in Japan.


Mulberry - Fall-Winter2017 - Womenswear - Londres - © PixelFormula



UK-based Mulberry said the new company will benefit from its digital and brand building capabilities coupled with Onward’s experience in distributing luxury brands across 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,” it said on Friday.

The new company will be called Mulberry Japan Co Limited and will have its HQ in Tokyo. It will develop the Group's retail, digital, omnichannel and wholesale business in the Japanese market and is expected to be “profit-neutral” for Mulberry during the initial two-year development phase.

Mulberry and Onward will be equal partners, each owning 50% of the share capital of the new company. Between them they will invest ¥400 million (£2.8 million) to provide funds to develop the distribution network and build the brand's presence in the country.

Mulberry’s CEO Thierry Andretta said the luxury firm sees Japan as a “significant growth opportunity” and that in Onward it has “a partner which has extensive luxury goods experience and a robust infrastructure which will enable us to advance our international retail and omnichannel strategy in this key market."

So how will it all work?  Mulberry Japan will manage all retail, digital fulfilment and wholesale distribution for the Japanese market.  A general manager has been appointed to build a local team, based in the Tokyo head office with the firm expected to be up and running later this year.

The distribution platform currently consists of a new Mulberry store in Tokyo Ginza G6, two concessions (one in Tokyo, one in Osaka), wholesale and the Group's mulberry.com site.

The Japan deal comes as Mulberry makes growth in Asia a priority. Earlier this year it set up Mulberry (Asia) Limited as a JV with Challice Limited to operate the group's business in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. That launch also came along with “significant” marketing investment in North Asia. In addition to local marketing initiatives, Mulberry plans to invest around £3 million in additional support over the next two years.

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