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TOKYO – Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), which drew long lines with its first Japan store, is hoping to repeat that success with its second shop opening Saturday with collaborative designs from fashion icon Rei Kawakubo. Swedish clothing retail chain H&M, which operates 1,700 shops in 32 markets, used to be little known in Japan. All that's changed after its arrival two months ago in Tokyo's Ginza. Queues of bargain-hunting shoppers snaked around for blocks, estimated by H&M at about 8,000 people a day. The lines, although significantly shorter, are still there — two months later.

The response was so strong that H&M — Europe's No. 2 clothing chain — scrambled to fly in employee help. Some customers were disappointed to have waited hours only to find nothing in their size, company official Nils Vinge said Thursday.

"Sales in Japan have been overwhelming," Nils Vinge (H&M)


 
 
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Forget the Japanese craze luxury branded handbags for now, Japanese consumers spend about 15-17% of their monthly budgets on just food. This compares to just 5-7% in the US and between 9% to 14% in western countries of Europe. On the other hand side, Japanese spend a surprising low 8% on health. Of course, this depends on the type of household surveyed. Households of 2 or more earners spent an average of 17.2% of their monthly spending on food in 2007, and household with kids more on health related items.