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Harry Winston Japan Jewelry Prices Set to Rise Amid Weaker Yen

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. (HWD), a watch and jewelry retailer that’s selling its luxury retail unit to Swatch Group AG (UHR), will raise jewelry prices in Japan as the yen’s drop to a three-year low makes imports more expensive.

The increase will be applied from March 22 to jewelry, not watches, the Japanese luxury retail unit of the Toronto-based company said in an e-mail. The message didn’t say how much prices would rise.

The diamond retailer’s price jump follows that of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC), which raised prices by a record last month for its flagship brand in Japan, the world’s largest luxury market after the U.S. Louis Vuitton added an average of 12 percent to prices of certain categories items in Japan starting Feb. 15 to offset the yen’s depreciation.

“Other brands may also raise some prices because of the weakening yen,” said Mikihiko Yamato, deputy head of research for JI Asia in Tokyo. “It’s easier for branded goods makers to pass costs along. People who want them want them no matter what.”

Harry Winston got about 12 percent of revenue from Japan in the year ended January 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Japanese currency weakened to 94.77 yen versus the dollar last month, the lowest since May 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuki Yamaguchi in Tokyo at yyamaguchi10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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