Fritz Hansen forces the pace of new store openings in Asia

The facade of Fritz Hansen’s new flagship store in Tokyo.

By Kent Dahl

The Danish design company, Fritz Hansen, is growing the number of mono brand stores at a fast pace in Asia. The company’s first Asian flagship store opened in Tokyo last week, and further 12 branded “Republic of Fritz Hansen” shops will open in Asia this year.

The new 170 square meters Japanese flagship shop in the centre of the fashion area in Tokyo, cements Japan as the biggest Asian market for Fritz Hansen. Japan is also the third biggest export market for the Danish company helped by a customer base, which naturally relates to Scandinavian design. It is the first store in Asia run directly by Fritz Hansen and the first shop to sell Fritz Hansen’s new Objects line of accessories.

The flagship store reflects a strong consumer interest, and retail now stands for about 60 pct. of Fritz Hansen’s sales in Japan.

“Our contract market is still growing, but retail is growing faster,” says country manager Martin Gordian from Fritz Hansen’s subsidiary in Tokyo. Overall sales grew 19 pct. in Japan last year. Apart from inspiring Fritz Hansen’s Japanese clientele, Gordian also hopes the flagship store will spur dealers to open similar stores in Japan and the rest of Asia. “The latter region is the most active market for Fritz Hansen right now,” says vice-president Dario Reicherl, who is covering Asia and Middle East, except Japan, for the Danish brand.

Sales in his region have doubled over the past two years, and the combined turnover of the various Asian countries is now bigger than the Japanese market. One reason is a much bigger visibility, as mostly new dealers have opened a fast growing number of branded stores under the name of “Republic of Fritz Hansen”. There are now 11 branded Fritz Hansen shops in Asia, outside Japan, in the form of shop-in-shops or monobrand stores. They will be accompanied by another 12 branded shop this year.

Two Fritz Hansen shops just opened last week in South Korea, which is the second biggest market for Fritz Hansen in Asia after Japan. The country now has five branded Fritz Hansen shops, also covering bigger cities like Gwangju and Daegu apart from Seoul.

“Together with the right partners, we have been able to grow our brand and in general promote Danish design and heritage,” explains Reicherl and adds, that Fritz Hansen’s products, for instance, often appear in popular Korean tv-dramas and films.

Fritz Hansen also has a strong presence in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In the latter another new Fritz Hansen shop will open later this year on the heels of three new shops last year.

“Interestingly, we also have new branded shops in Jakarta, Manila, and Kuala Lumpur, where there previously were minimal awareness of our brand, says Reicherl. Especially in Jakarta and Manila, there is a significant group of young affluent people, who have been educated in Europe or Canada, and who has developed a taste for Fritz Hansen’s products.