This passage is from Underhill's latest book, Call of the Mall: "How do you explain the particular fervor many Japanese have for high-end brands? It surpasses what we see even in the United States and Europe...They spend serious money on luxury products and have an almost mystical belief in their value." "To senior executives at luxury good firms, the Japanese devotion to designer labels is a mixed blessing. The companies love the money- the Hermes and Louis Vuitton shops in Tokyo generate some of the largest sales-per-square-foor revenues of any retail location on Earth. A good Hallmark Gold Crown card store in an American mall may do $500-plus per square foot. A great Gap might do $700 a foot. A French or Italian luxury goods store in Tokyo brings in more than $7,000 a square foot." "What worries the European luxury goods manufacturers is the degree to which their native customers react negatively to crowds of Japanese tourists filling the shops in Paris and Milan. To a European snob, there is something distinctly declasse about seeing your favorite bages getting on and off the tourist buses. Japanese customers are rights to suspect that some products are being deliberately withheald from stores that serve the Japanese market. Some high-end shops in Paris and Milan limit the number of bags they will sell the individual Japanese tourist, but will look the other way when a well-dressed European wants to make the same multiple purchase. Outside the Louis Vitton store off the Champs Elysee in Paris, Westerners are often approached by Japanese tourists asking if they will make thier purchases for them."
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3/2/05 at 5:38am