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Why Ralph Lauren Is Worried About a Weakened Yen

Why Ralph Lauren Is Worried About a Weakened Yen
Photograph by Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg

The yen-crushing stimulus program of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promises to crimp one of the highest-spending groups of travelers in the U.S., and big retail brands that rely on yen-carrying customers—whether as tourists or shoppers in Japan—are getting ready to suffer from their reduced buying power.

In 2012, some 3.4 million Japanese travelers visited the U.S., according to recently released U.S. Commerce Department data. Compared with other overseas markets, that’s a close second only to the U.K. and almost twice the number of visitors that came from Germany, the No. 3 market. And no one matches the Japanese for spending. Between plane tickets, hotel rooms, shopping, rounds of golf, and all the other things that make a trip, travelers from Japan poured $16.6 billion (PDF) into the U.S. last year. Canada aside, no other country was close.