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I thought typical US apparel retail markup was between 2x and 3x (gross margin between 50% and 66% or retail price). From what you've said in the past, it sounds like the retailer in Japan typically operates on thinner margins (maybe 1x-2x multiplier?), which seems very counter-intuitive given the likely higher average cost of real estate (and labor) in Japan. So I guess the only way it could work for them is if the stores are much more productive, i.e. have much higher sales per square foot, than US retailers. Something that's not hard to believe for specialty retail - I've been to extremely "compact" stores in Japan - but is hard to comprehend for department stores - a Daimaru or Takashimaya doesn't seem much more productive than Macy's or Nordstrom at first glance.
I was referring to a FOB price there, the base minimum before any profits are added in. You're right, US retailers mark up about 3x I think, but they're also paying the brand their profits in the wholesale price. So say for ex (let's assume taxes of about 30% are built-in here). - $300 leather jacket, $600 wholesale price from a line sheet ($300 profit for the brand) - retail price of $1800 (boutique may or may not make $1200 profit. Sale price, as always, can dip to like $900 at 50% off, but if the piece lingers to a closeout of like 75% off, we're down past the wholesale price - in these cases the retail shop can even demand reparations from makers. There's a ton of reasons why the retail model is fucked.
The Japanese brands operate selling more expensive clothes at tiny markup because they have a very limited net to cast. Flagship shop, maybe a department store shop, maybe some throwaway accounts to get the product out into the countryside away from Tokyo, and then PR and staff fees - the rest they get to take home. The designer is CEO/owner usually and may even sit in his own shop, if he is so inclined. Very small, if you compare it to something like the European brands owned by equity groups and stuff.
Japanese department stores are completely different animals - they are all mostly store-in-stores operated by the brands themselves, and the brands simply pay a fee to have floor space, and lose that on those stores in exchange for more square footage across town to repeat the sales points. If the brand is foreign and not domestic, a trading company is handling a product and pays these fees, for ex Kokonoe, who handles MMM in Japan, or San Freres, who handles Raf Simons here. It's why you can buy all the brands featured in a department store at the same prices as the flagship shops in the small neighborhoods. The flagship shops are paying for real estate, the department store shops are renting floor area, in the end I think it's about the same, give or take. The department stores collect rent and sell their own food goods downstairs, they rent all the space between the basement and the top floor to brands of varying sizes, and then they rent to restaurants on the top floors. They might have a very small amount of their own trading going on clothes-wise, but not much.
And that is exactly how these Asian department stores are able to bring in huge names that attract people - they're merely renting real estate. Takashimaya in Shinjuku has Kinokuniya bookstore, they have brand name restaurants that have original traditional outposts elsewhere, they have a bunch of assorted fashion brands - department stores are just real estate shells that operate as bazaars and markets. It's why all of those department store companies are able to participate in a variety of businesses apart from the department store business- there's not much they're doing there besides the rent-collecting. There's still a bunch of holy executive positions way up there just like in the west, but honestly the messy free-for-all logistics probably make for easier work on the department store side, as well as the small retailer's side.
Lamb 5-zip, I know it's practically the same jacket in different pics but this one is lamb and looks much thinner but cost $600+ more.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I think I'll probably pull the trigger on the bovine version this weekend, hopefully the store still has the 34 and 36 this weekend so I can try both on.
The finish of the lamb on that is interesting, from the pictures, it doesn't really strike me as leather. Interesting to see it in person, as it has this matte finish.
I think ssense sells that model, the only thing that I'm not keen on is that it looks like the zippers have this blue outline around them. You can see if you zoom in
Yup, that is the exact jacket. I noticed that SSense pic just makes the jacket look more matte navy than black, not just the sides of the zippers. I think it's their photography, I noticed other black clothes/leathers in their website in the past where it looked blue-ish than black.
I used to be head over heels for the 5-zip, but I'm not feeling it with the sliver zippers. I love the thinness of the lamb leather, but I feel like it would look much better without the two diagonal zips. Of course, then it wouldn't be a 5-zip (literally) so I obviously don't know what I'm talking about.
The SA in the store actually said the zippers are more gunmetal-ish than silver on the Bovine. Perhaps the zippers on the lamb is more silver?
I'm usually a fan of blacked out things but the 5-zip isn't something that I was keen on.
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