Retail in Asia


Inside Officine Universelle Buly’s new store and café in Kobe, Japan – and other retailers with café concepts in Asia

These days, high-end brands are increasingly pairing their collections of apparel, leather goods, jewellery, and lifestyle products with caffeine and sweets to connect with more customers and drive engagement within brick-and-mortar spaces. 

SEE ALSO: A closer look at the emergence of local coffee shops in Asia Pacific

The phenomenon is not new, with the likes of designer Giorgio Armani pioneering his brand’s spinoff into hospitality as early as in the 1990s. Tiffany & Co. named its own foray into cafes after its iconic blue box, debuting the Blue Box Cafe in New York in 2017 and in Hong Kong in 2019. This month, Tiffany announced its newly transformed Manhattan flagship store, replete with a dedicated museum and exhibition spaces, will house The Blue Box Cafe by Daniel Boulud, offering a daytime menu by the Michelin-starred chef. 

From European fashion houses such as Gucci and Prada to quintessentially American brands like Ralph Lauren, the last decade has seen branded F&B concepts attract a whole new audience, reinforce brand equity, and create a more memorable — and Instagram-friendly — customer journey.

Below, a look at the latest openings in Asia.

Officine Universelle Buly

Source: Officine Universelle Buly

Founder Ramdane Touhami has mastered the art of creating a sensory experience in the brand’s stores across the globe, and Officine Universelle Buly’s latest address in Kobe, Japan, takes his vision a step further with an in-store café.

The new outpost echoes the concept introduced at its rue Saintonge location in Paris, offering beverages and French pastries alongside fragrances.

Outside, the imperial green façade is embellished with a contrasting marbled frieze; full-length shelves in walnut, oak, and elm as well as the lacquered cabinets are crafted by a master cabinet maker from Burgundy. In tribute to its location, speckled marble slabs reference the celebrated cuts of Kobe beef, while paintings, shellac and decorative touches have been created by a Japanese ornamental painter.

Café Kitsuné

Source: Café Kitsuné

Maison Kitsune has successfully translated its cult brand into spaces that appeal to their target audience: a caffeine-obsessed cohort of millennials and Gen Z.

Since the opening of the first Café Kitsuné  in Tokyo, Japan, in 2013, Maison Kitsuné has since unveiled multiple outposts across Asia, with a particularly strong presence in Southeast Asia (Bangkok, Jakarta, and Manila), in addition to cafes in Shanghai and Beijing. 

The newest Café Kitsuné opened this month in Taipei’s Bellavista shopping mall, marking the brand’s 17th store in Asia and 26th globally. As in other Café Kitsuné outlets, Café Kitsuné Bellavista features bright orange elements referencing the brand’s orange fox logo. 

Café Leitz

Source: Leica

Marking its entry into mainland China, Café Leitz has opened in Shenzhen MixC, complementing the newly opened Leica Camera Shenzhen flagship store.

Inheriting a century of German craftsmanship, Leica Camera’s photography-themed cafe presents exclusive dining experiences from Germany while promoting cultural and art exchange through exhibition spaces, introducing a new spot for locals as well as tourists visiting Shenzhen for the weekend. The single-storey building is divided into four major areas: the Leica camera retail and display spaces, Café Leitz, and the Leica Academie area for photography enthusiasts. 

Le Café V 

Source: Le Café V

Opened in 2020, Louis Vuitton’s four-storey Maison Osaka Midosuji flagship store designed by architects Jun Aoki and Peter Marino welcomed the first ever Louis Vuitton café, Café V, as well as its first restaurant, Sugalabo V.

The café, which features a French and Japanese-inspired menu, spans a terrace, bar and the exclusive Cocoon Room. The café and restaurant are both helmed by Japanese chef Yasuke Suga, a protégé of Joël Robuchon.

SEE ALSO: Meet four types of APAC consumers driving physical retail’s comeback

Dior Cafe by by Ladurée

Source: Ginza Six

The renovated Dior Café Ginza by Ladurée opened in 2022, housed within Dior’s five-storey flagship store at the luxury mall Ginza Six in Japan. In addition to beverages, Dior Café Ginza offers macarons in flavours exclusive to the maison.

Dior previously opened Dior Café by Pierre Hermé, in partnership with another French luxury patisserie, in Gangnam, Seoul, in 2015.