• Nna/kyodo

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Ficelle Inc. is advancing into Thailand in earnest to promote its popular baby clothing brand and other products to cash in on expected strong demand in one of Southeast Asia’s largest markets.

The Japanese retailer opened its first outlet in the Central Embassy shopping mall in Bangkok last month by joining hands with K-AG Kin All Gen Co., a local distributor, following 2017’s successful half-year trial of online sales, which raked in 5 million baht ($155,000).

Ficelle, based in Aichi Prefecture, offers a wide variety of brands, including 10mois, with items such as baby and maternity clothes, sleeping vests, bibs and portable chairs with prices ranging from 400 to 10,000 baht ($12 to $300).

Lukkana Jaovisidha, executive director of K-AG Kin All Gen and mother of two children, said that the luxury goods market, particularly baby care products, is expected to grow. The trend of having fewer children means parents are likely to spend more on infant apparel and baby accessories.

In addition to parents, the Thai distributor says, it is counting on grandparents to buy Ficelle products as gifts.

Foreign expatriates will account for 30 percent of overall customers, according to forecasts.

Ficelle and its Thai partner are planning to open two more stores in Bangkok this year, including a flagship shop to be located in a Takashimaya department store due to open this autumn. They hope to operate five shops in Thailand by 2020.

Ficelle recently opened an outlet in Singapore, with its recent expansion coming after successful product launches in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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