PRINCESSE tam.tam, a French lingerie retail brand owned and operated by Fast Retailing (UNIQLO operator), shut down the brand in Japan in March 2016, after struggling to gain brand awareness in Japan.
On March 25 2016, NIKKEI newspaper wrote as follows;
The reason is assumed that PRINCESSE tam.tam failed to increase brand awareness and sales did not grow after starting retail expansion in 2012.
PRINCESSE tam.tam opened the first store in Ginza in November 2012, and after that, opened 3 stores within 41 months until March 2016. Direct operation stores were in Ikebukuro (Tokyo), in Setagaya-ku (Tokyo) and in Osaka. It also operated on-line store (as listed on their closure notice, in Japanese).
PRINCESSE tam.tam expanded the store network wide-spread geographically when store counts were still few, and failed to add stores in each market.
This is one of the commonly-seen failure patterns that foreign retail brands follow after Japan market entry, and PRINCESSE tam.tam’s case should be recorded as one of them.
A hypothesis could be lead from this case – “1 store per year / 3 stores in 3 years is too slow a store expansion speed for a newly launched retail brand in Japan”. We’ll continue to watch more similar cases and examine this hypothesis.