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Brief Published: 4 Apr 2013

Kate Spade Saturday Lures Tokyo Youth Market


US fashion retailer Kate Spade New York unveiled its first freestanding store in Japan late last month. Going straight for Japan’s fashion-hungry youth market, Kate Spade Saturday – the youth-focused sister of the main brand – is located in the trendy Omotesando district of Tokyo.

Reflecting the core brand, Kate Spade Saturday’s apparel collections centre around simple, classic shapes, bold colours and playful graphics – but with a cheaper price point. Apparel ranges from $50-90 (£33-60), with handbags starting at $160 (£106). The store also sells homeware including mugs and plates, and travel-oriented items such as cosmetic cases and pillows.

With Japan being the largest international Kate Spade market outside of the US, Tokyo was an obvious choice for the brand, according to senior vice-president Kyle Andrew. While the Omotesando store (adjacent to the equally hip Harajuku district) is the main draw, the brand simultaneously opened a second store, dubbed a "grab-and-go" location, in the lively Shinjuku subway station – one of the city's busiest retail and dining hubs.

While the price point is a clear route to targeting a more youthful fan base, the store design also plays a major part. The three-storey 2,420 sq ft space features a yellow glass facade, spiral staircase, in-store pretzel counter and cafe offering beer and lemonade.

Customisation is another tactic being used to beckon a younger crowd accustomed to retail concepts that encourage participation (for more on this topic see Consumer Creators, Sports Futures and Revealing the Product Journey). In-store, customers use large iMacs to customise plain canvas weekender bags – choosing from a variety of colours and fabrics for the body, handles and pockets. They can also add a monogram.

Even more unusually, white cotton basics (shift dresses, shell tops, tote bags) with a black geometric grid pattern are being sold with a set of coloured fabric pens, allowing customers to create their own designs.

iPad tablets placed throughout the store enable customers to register for seasonal sales and in-store promotions. They also showcase "F.Y.I. items" – garments that can be worn in multiple ways, such as shirt dresses that can be converted into blouses, or totes with straps that can be worn at three different lengths.

iPads are also used to convert traditional points of sale (POS) into digital signage. This is a more flexible system to accommodate one of the store’s biggest draws – the introduction of a new in-store-only item once a week on a Saturday (hence the name).

The brand plans to open more stores in New York City and Los Angeles during 2013-14.

For more examples of retailers targeting teens through tailored product and in-store technology, look out for Teen Store Concepts, publishing in May.

For more on smart uses of technology in-store, see also In-Store Interactive and Digitising the Department Store.


Kate Spade