UK Mulberry Group forms joint venture in Japan

Mulberry Group plc, the British luxury brand, has announced the signing of an agreement with Onward Global Fashion Co Limited (OGF), a Japanese registered entity, to form a new 50:50 joint venture company to operate its business in Japan. OGF is a wholly owned subsidiary of Onward Holdings Co Limited, a company which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. THe facts are as follows:
· The new company, Mulberry Japan Co Limited (Mulberry Japan), will be headquartered in Tokyo.
· Mulberry Japan will develop the Group’s retail, digital, omni-channel and wholesale business in the Japanese market.
· The Group and OGF will be equal partners, each owning 50% of the share capital of Mulberry Japan.
· The Group and OGF will invest a total of £2.8 million (¥400 million) in Mulberry Japan’s share capital to provide funds to develop the distribution network and build the brand’s presence in Japan.
· Mulberry Japan will benefit from the Group’s digital and brand building capabilities coupled with OGF’s experience in distributing luxury brands across Japan.
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.
Thierry Andretta,Chief executive Officer, commented: “I am pleased to announce our partnership with OGF in Japan, a market where we see significant growth opportunity for Mulberry. In OGF we have a partner which has extensive luxury goods experience and a robust infrastructure which will enable us to advance our international retail and omni-channel strategy in this key market.”
Mulberry Japan will manage all retail, digital fulfillment and wholesale distribution for the Japanese market. A general manager has been appointed to build a local team, based in the Tokyo head office. Mulberry Japan is expected to be operational from late 2017. 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 joint venture will be accounted for as a minority interest in the Group’s financial statements. The Group anticipates the investment in Mulberry Japan to be profit-neutral at Group level during the initial two-year development phase.