The Japan unit of upscale U.S. department store Saks Fifth Avenue said Friday it will open its first Japanese outlet in Tokyo in the fall of 2005.

The New York-based department store said it will open five to 10 additional outlets in major cities in later years, a move likely to intensify competition in the domestic department store industry.

The Japanese outlets will likely have sales space of 5,000-10,000 sq. meters, with product focus on clothing and accessories, company officials said.

The Japan unit will directly run the domestic outlets and license the Saks trademark to other firms.

It will also cooperate with local companies to develop new brands designed especially for the Japanese market.

“We’d like to create a new type of specialized stores by taking advantage of Saks’ high-class image and its product-development power,” a company official said.

Saks Fifth Avenue has 60 outlets across the United States. It posted $2.337 billion in sales in the business year that ended in December 2002.

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