Benetton opens megastore in Tokyo ↓

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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Benetton, the Italian clothing label known for its aggressive advertising, opened its new flagship store earlier this month in the heart of Tokyo's fashionable Omotesando district.
"Japanese customers have the best eye for beauty in the world," said Group Chairman Luciano Benetton, who attended the opening.
Benetton Group has been recently opened new, larger stores worldwide, including several in Italy. The new Tokyo megastore is its first in Asia.
While Japanese consumer confidence is at a record-low level, the brand-frenzy continues. Benetton isn't one of the more expensive brands, and because of its price range and clothing variety, it's often compared to The Gap.
Benetton doesn't think of The Gap as its rival.
"Our clothes are different from all- American casual," said Benetton PR director Takako Watanabe. "They are made in Italy, and you can see the difference when you actually wear them."
Watanabe knows Japanese consumers figure "if it's made in Italy, it's almost as good as Armani." But does the "Armani with a Gap price tag" approach still work? Perhaps.
One of three well-dressed women in their 50s, who were picking out the scarves of bright turquoise blue and lime green, said: "It's only for one season's use -- 4,800 yen (about $43) doesn't hurt much, even if we don't use it anymore the next year."
Omotesando draws many tourists, both from abroad and within Japan, but it's not quite as bustling as New York's Madison Avenue or New Bond Street in London. Some department stores are shut down and other buildings have experienced considerable turnover.
Still, many young Japanese flock there to treasure hunt in the small shops full of vintage clothing, hand-made accessories, and distinctive jackets.
Benetton welcomes the competition.
"It's the key for better service and products," Watanabe said.


Mariko Fukuyama


15 декабря 2000

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