JapanConsuming Headlines: April 2015

by admin on April 8, 2015

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All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month

FOCUS: Chasing the tourist shopper: retail marketing strategies for inbound tourists in Japan
Japan is enjoying unprecedented growth in inbound tourism. Department stores, hotels and overseas brands are benefiting first and foremost, but other formats are also eagerly introducing services and ranges directly targeting the tourist market. Most of these services have, so far, remained basic, concentrating on duty-free sales and acceptance of Chinese debit and credit cards. However, there is considerable scope for greater segmentation. International chains have an advantage, knowing more about customers in other markets, but the variety of tourists visiting Japan and their interests and spending patterns reveal plenty of opportunity to exploit this rapidly growing market further.

Itochu to marry Familymart to Uny in new food retail empire
As was predicted for some time, Itochu has brokered merger talks between Familymart and Circle K Sunkus (CKS). As if the possibility of a merger between the number three and number four convenience stores wasn’t tantalising enough, Familymart may go all the way and merge with Uny, CKS’s parent company. Negotiations are ongoing, but failing a major personality clash, some new alignment is almost certain to emerge simply because Itochu wants it, shaking up both convenience and GMS sectors in one fell swoop.

LINE@ helps brands reach fans
LINE dominates instant messaging in Japan. It is now beginning to exploit the value of its database, helping brands and retailers reach new audiences and finding ways to engage with consumers that, potentially at least, will entertain rather than annoy. The new LINE@ service makes it easier than ever to deliver promotions as well as conduct opinion polls and get real time feedback from fans and customers – and even broadcast live fashion shows from Burberry in London.

Seven & I ties with Jean Paul Gaultier
Seven & I has been busy recently. As well as launching a new home fashion chain (see page 7) and making Barney’s Japan a full subsidiary, it has found time to negotiate a deal with Jean Paul Gaultier for a new apparel line to be sold through both Sogo Seibu and Ito-Yokado. After so many efforts to reignite its apparel business, could it at last have found a solution?

Kitsch paradise: Isetan-Mitsukoshi targets young in Harajuku and online
Isetan-Mitsukoshi’s spate of innovations in the last year has included most segments and most areas of Japanese life but there was one that seemed out of reach until now: the teen market. Last month it unveiled the latest iteration of its Alta shopping building in Harajuku, a festival of pink that may turn into a national chain.

Consumption continues to flounder as wage rises disappoint
As recently as February, leading economists were doing their utmost to convince major Japanese companies to tow the government line and plough some of their recent profit gains back into wage increases. In the end company generosity turned out to be measly and most consumers are left increasingly doubtful of seeing any benefit from Abenomics.

Seven & I targets growing home fashion market with Bon Bon Home
Seven & I now owns two brands serving the home market, Loft and Bals, and it also sells a plethora of household products through Ito-Yokado. It is now forming synergies between these disparate businesses. The first result is a new specialty chain called Bon Bon Home, designed specifically to exploit the growing demand for home fashion. The new concept also looks like being the first major step in changing how the Ito-Yokado GMS chain is managed, shifting from a general merchandise model to mini-SC with food at the core.

H2O and Takashimaya claim deeper collaboration
H2O Retailing and Takashimaya have been flirting for years but have never got together. The two department stores now claim they will deepen collaboration, yet at the same time reducing their respective equity holdings in each other. The two firms were never a good match, and the latest announcement suggests a still minimal level of cooperation. This makes sense for H2O, but Takashimaya is looking isolated.

Otsuka Kagu: a house no longer divided, but does it have a future?
Like a TV soap drama, Otsuka Kagu finally settled its protracted leadership battle at the end of March, with the founder and chairman summarily removed by, of all people, his own daughter. While just a political spat in a company that is past its prime, the story reveals a lot about how furniture retailing has changed over the past 10 years.

ABC Mart launches new chain
ABC Mart continues the relentless expansion of its main chain, but is also experimenting with a variety of smaller select shop style formats, particularly in fashion markets. Its latest, Ace Shoes, has been designed for fashion buildings, stations and even department stores, with fashion trend leaders the core target.

70% of young expect to stay single
In a somewhat depressing survey result, almost three quarters of a sample of 20 year old women said they thought it likely they would spend their lives alone, even if most of them did hold out hope they would find love and marry eventually.

News in Brief
Itochu signs FitFlop
A seamless logistics solution for online SMEs
Seven Eleven enters Tottori and Aomori
Singapore cafe tcc in Japan
Senshukai acquires stake in Yukijirushi Megmilk
Emporio opens second store for Muy Mucho
Amazon Japan launches sales of BMW electric cars
Tokyu cancels deal with Isetan-Mitsukoshi
Cole Haan opens first ever SC store
Rice getting cheaper
Aeon signs deal with Apple
Coffee shops still popular, Blue Bottle Coffee opens first Japanese branch
Shimamura targets 2,000 stores by 2016
Aeon to open first SC in Indonesia at end of May
Q Plaza opens in Harajuku
Buyma buys 4meee
Urban Research introduces size checking system
Familymart and Softbank to invest in T-Point
Lawson launches mobile shop service in Saga
Start Today acquires Aratana
GU opens 300th store
New store format for Pola

Company and Brand Index this month
Numbers indicate page of report:

Ace Shoes, 11
Adidas, 11
Aeon, 3, 7-9, 16
Ai Takahashi, 6
Akachan Honpo, 8
Alta Harajuku, 6
Amazon, 5
Ameba, 6
Anap, 4
Android, 4
Apple, 7, 16
Aratana, 10-11
Avail, 8
Bals, 7-8
Barney’s Japan, 5
Belle Neige, 5
Bic Camera, 2, 15-16
Billy’s Ent, 11
Birthday, 8
Blue Bottle Coffee, 7-8
BMW, 5
Burberry, 4
Buyma, 9
Cecil McBee, 4
Charlotte, 11
Choco Choco, 6
Circle K Sunkus, 1
Closshi, 8
Coco Store, 3
Cole Haan, 6
Compolux, 5
Culture Convenience Club, 10
Cyberagent, 6
Diadora, 11
Disney, 6
Doshisha, 3
Edition Blue, 10
Emporio, 5
Enigmo, 9
Facebook, 4, 13
Familymart, 1-3, 10
Fashion Shimamura, 8
FitFlop, 3
FrancFranc, 8
Freude, 8
H2O Retailing, 9
Hankyu, 9
Harmonie Soluna, 9
Harrods, 14
Honeyee, 11
Honeys, 4
IKEA, 10
Ikspiari, 5
Infinity Venture Partners, 3
Isetan Mirror, 11
Isetan-MItsukoshi, 1, 5-6, 9, 16
Ito-Yokado, 3, 5, 7-8
Itochu Shoji, 3
Japan Duty Free Fa-So-La, 16
Jean Paul Gaultier, 1, 5, 8
JNTO, 13-14, 16
JR West, 4
Kitte, 16
Krongthip, 3
Lalaport, 6
Laox, 16
Limited Edition, 5
LINE, 1, 3-8, 11, 16
Loft, 7-8
Lotte, 16
Lumine, 11
Matsumotokiyoshi, 16
Megmilk, 4-5
Mercari, 3
MI Plaza, 6
Ministop, 3
Mitsubishi-Simon, 14, 16
Mitsui Real Estate, 6, 16
Mitsukoshi Ginza, 16
Muy Mucho, 5
NAA Retailing, 16
New Balance, 11
Newcom, 7
Nike, 11
Nitori, 10
OpenLogi, 3
Otsuka Kagu, 1, 8-10
Phillip Lam, 5
Pink Lemon Tree, 6
Pola Orbis, 11
Poplar, 3
Premium Outlet, 14
Printemps Ginza, 10
Q Plaza, 9
Rakuten, 10-11
Reebok, 11
Saucony, 11
Seibu, 5, 8
Sense of Place, 9
Senshukai, 4
Sept Premieres, 5
Seven Eleven, 2-4, 8
Shimamura, 8
Sneakers Select, 11
Starbucks, 4
Start Today, 10-11
Stone Market, 6
Sumitomo Shoji, 5
T-Point, 10
Tanosia, 8
Tartine Bakery, 8
TCC, 4
Three F., 3
Tiny Garden Kitchen, 9
Tod Snyder, 5
Tokyo Midtown, 16
Tokyu Department Stores, 6
Tomo Direct, 4
Uniqlo, 16
United Arrows, 9, 11
Uny Holdings, 1
Urban Research, 9
Valor, 3
Vans Vault, 11
World Project Kawaii, 6
Yahoo, 3
Yamada Denki, 16
Yukijirushi Megmilk, 4
Zara, 2

JapanConsuming Headlines: March 2015

by admin on March 8, 2015

JapanConsuming March 2015

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Focus: Weddings: fewer, but more fun and opportunity
On the surface it seems that Japan might be one of the worst prospects for anyone selling products or services related to weddings. Marriage rates are declining, because there are just fewer young people, but also because so many women don’t want to get married, often fearful of losing their career. There is good news. With more people marrying later, budgets are larger and the demand for bespoke weddings higher – and some women simply give up and have a ‘solo wedding’, creating an entirely new market in itself. All in all, this means the value of the market is holding up. With less share going to formulaic wedding firms and the jewellery, fashion and food & beverage suppliers tied to them, there is more opportunity than ever for innovative overseas players.

TopShop: another British retail disaster in Japan?
Large British fashion retailers haven’t had a great time of it in Japan, and last month the record got even worse after TopShop’s franchise partner suddenly closed all of its stores with little notice. TopShop is reported to be looking for a new partner, but when competitors have shown the merits of direct investment it still begs the question why.

Another great year for SC expansion
Despite tight labour markets in construction and retail which led Aeon and others to halve the number of planned SCs this year, 2015 looks like being another strong year for new shopping malls, both in suburban and city centre locations, with Nagoya a particular focus for investment.

Radishboya: branded veggies
Radishboya, a specialist online supermarket owned by NTT Docomo, is expanding into branded vegetable ranges.

Itochu signs Scotch & Soda, plans further expansion
Itochu Shoji may already be the biggest fashion distributor among the Sogo Shosha but it plans a renewed push in brand distribution both at home, where it sees a significant uplift from the tourist market, and across Asia. It is looking for brands across a broad range of segments.

Glamour-Sales sees record sales
Glamour-Sales is, along with Oak Lawn Marketing, one of very few success stories among Japanese non-store businesses set up by foreign residents. Since the launch five years ago, Glamour-Sales has carved a significant share of the flash sales market. Following US$65 million in new backing last year, it is expanding quickly, and with 50% of brands from overseas, is proving a useful partner for international consumer goods businesses.

Lalaport Izumi targeting young mothers
Lalaport Izumi is the latest in Mitsui’s growing chain of large, suburban family shopping centres. While some developers still aim at broad customer segments in the hope of attracting customers from a wide area, many suffer from low footfall during weekdays, but Mitsui is once again proving that it is able to target local shopping needs without alienating the wider catchment.

Aeon: where’s the profit?
As Japanese retailers gear up to announce end of year results, few analysts are expecting good news from the biggest retailer, Aeon. The group has managed to move forward in terms of sales growth, but profits were well down in the first three quarters and it continues to struggle with its overall strategy. Senior management at key subsidiaries is likely to be replaced as a result.

Inageya and Summit to expand farm operations
Supermarket chains are increasing their direct farming interests. With Japan’s farm sector in decline and imports problematic and expensive, serious food retailers have both the opportunity and the need to take better control over their food supply chains. This is even more the case for growing Tokyo chains like Inageya and Summit.

Magaseek & Start Today running more retailer e-commerce
Although many major fashion brands now sell through online malls, there is a growing shift towards taking greater direct control of online sales. This leaves the two main online fashion malls Magaseek and Start Today with a major problem. Both are trying to solve this issue by providing consulting and operating services in addition to their portal sites.

Cross Company to scrap permanent-only contracts in tight labour market
Japan’s fastest growing fashion retailer for the past decade has announced a surprising move to do away with its policy of only employing permanent staff. The move comes as it plans to increase store numbers by more than a third in the next three years. In contrast, rival chains are keen to offer more permanent positions.

Shimamura sales on the rise again
Shimamura had a tough time in the first half of FY2014, partly due to the waning enthusiasm for its young women’s fashions. It is now doing much better, as a result of further expansion of private brands, particularly for its core target of housewives. More work needs to be done to raise its game, in particular store design, but the discount apparel market remains strong, suggesting plenty of scope for further growth.

News in Brief
GMS apparel continues to decline
Autobacs opens in GMS
Abundance and Sunrally to form capital tie-up
Kate Spade Japan hits ¥13 billion
Baby & Taylor launches in Japan
Aeon opens new Cox concept aimed at couples
Gunze opens womens’ lingerie online store
Nails Inc trials pop-up stores in Japan
Coop to unify branding
Walmart selling imported bras in 94 Seiyu stores
Sanki signs Oscar de la Renta to target expanding wealth market
Musashi Kosugi to see more development
Mixi buys fashion e-commerce venture
Large store applications continue strong
Amazon JAPAN sales rise 12%
Dadway introduces discount childrenswear
GMS chain sales down 1.7% in January
Bals creates home fashion store for Ito-Yokado
Seven & I acquires rest of Barney’s Japan, PLANS new store in Roppongi in 2016
Government introduces new ‘eco-points’ scheme for home reform
Muji to open major store in Fukuoka, launches apparel recycling scheme

Company and Brand Index this month
Numbers indicate page of report:

Accessorize, 3
Aeon, 1, 3-5, 8-11
Akachan Honpo, 7
Amazon Japan, 5
Amu Plaza, 4
Anteprima, 6
Arcadia Group, 3
Autobacs, 11
Aveda, 10
Bals, 3
Barney’s New York, 3
Beenos, 6
Bon Bon Home, 3
Bramhope, 6
Brandear, 6
Brunello Cucinelli, 6
Bulgari, 15
Cacherel, 6
Citizen, 10
Closshi, 11
Cloud Nine Tokyo, 9
Coop Kobe, 7
Coronet, 5
Cosmos Yakuhin, 5
Cox, 10
Cross Company, 1, 10
Dadway, 6
Daiei, 8
Defacto Standard, 6
Dinos-Cecile, 6
E-Land, 3
Eastpak, 5
Edwin, 6
FiveO Tokyo, 9
Forte Forte, 6
French Connection, 3
Fujimi Lalaport, 4
Glamour-Sales, 1, 6-7
GU, 11
Gunze, 11
Harajuku Alta, 4
Harukas Style, 10
Hunter Boots, 6
Hunting World, 6
Inageya, 1, 9
Infinity Venture Partners, 9
Irina, 9
Ito-Yokado, 3, 8, 11
Itochu Fashion System, 6
Itochu Shoji, 3, 5-6
JBF Partners, 1
Joix Corporation, 5
JR East, 4
JR Takashimaya, 4
Kate Spade, 9-10
Kintetsu Department Store, 10
Krug, 10
La Foret Harajuku, 3
Lalaport, 1, 4, 7
Lawson, 5
Le Creuset, 7
Le Sportsac, 6
Lydia, 10
Maxvalu, 8
Ministop, 8
Mitsui, 4-5, 7
Mixi, 8-9
Mixxo, 3
Mori Building, 1
Mujirushi Ryohin, 4
Nails Inc, 7
Nice Claup, 11
NTT Docomo, 5
Oasis, 3
Old Navy, 7
Olives de Olives, 11
Onward Holdings, 9
Opaque, 7
Oscar de la Renta, 8
Parco, 4
Paul Smith, 5-6
Penfield, 6
Primark, 1
Radishboya, 1, 5
RC Holdings, 6
Sanki, 6, 8
Sanki Shoji, 8
Scotch & Soda, 1, 5
Seibu, 7, 14
Seiyu, 8
Seven Eleven, 8
Spao, 3
Spiral Girl, 11
Start Today, 1, 9-10
Sugukon Navi, 15
Sumitomo Shoji, 3, 9
Summit, 1, 9
Sunrally Group, 9
Takashimaya, 4
Take and Give Needs, 14-15
Ted Baker, 3
Tobu, 4
Top Shop, 3
Uniqlo, 3, 10-11
United Arrows, 10
Uny, 11
Vacheron Constantin, 10
Valerie Toyomura, 10
Vence Exchange, 10
Vinatex, 6
Walmart, 8
Welcia Holdings, 8
Xebio, 3
Yahoo Auctions, 6
Yamada Denki, 4, 6
York Benimaru, 8
Zara, 1
Zexy, 13-15
Zozotown, 1, 10

JapanConsuming Headlines: February 2015

by admin on February 4, 2015

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All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month

FOCUS: Fashioning the home: the new road to riches?
In the 1980s and 1990s Japan became a fashion market like no other, with almost every generation developing a fascination with personal style and brands, and a concomitant willingness to spend. Until recently this interest in fashion as a form of personal expression, of presentation to the outside world, has entirely focused on fashioning the body. Today, though, there is a new and growing obsession: fashioning the home, a market with almost as much potential as the personal fashion market of the 1980s.

Isetan-Mitsukoshi: the premium services business
The pace of innovation at Isetan-Mitsukoshi recently has been unprecedented but it looks like being just the start. As well as small format stores, it is looking to grab a slice of the premium end of some lucrative service industries too, in weddings, travel and healthcare. It plans to open travel stores and ‘health care malls’ – the first truly relevant response to the potential of the senior market by a department store.

Tory Burch goes it alone, leaving Look to replenish 15% of sales
Tory Burch entered the Japanese market through Look in 2009 and has seen sales rise rapidly in the five years since. It will now take over Japanese distribution, giving it the margins needed to invest in building the brand further. For Look, the loss of such a powerful brand means a drop of 15% in turnover, but the associated glow from its tenure of the US brand, and its solid track record, has given it access to some strong brands with the potential to replace it.

Fashion Box invests in Replay
Italian fashion retailer Fashion Box plans a major investment in its Japanese subsidiary in order to boost the sales and brand awareness of its Replay denim brand. It will strengthen womenswear, expand department store concessions, and open dedicated footwear stores. It also plans to contract with regional distributors.

Supermarkets: small formats for SCs
Major supermarket chains are looking to open new small formats, ideal for shopping centres and creating a new challenge to convenience stores. In the past, supermarkets and GMS brands have generally preferred to open in their own SCs rather than those of independent developers but more chains are taking the decision to look for new store opportunities in third party SCs, especially around Tokyo. This is a major shift in strategy, and an opportunity for overseas brands.

JR unveils line up for Lucua 1100
JR West will open the second section of its Lucua SC in April, with eight Isetan stores and another 150 tenants, making it the biggest station SC in the country and providing yet more competition for the Umeda area in Osaka.

Burberry could triple stores to 55
Burberry hopes to double or triple store numbers in the next few years, following the end of its license with Sanyo. The UK luxury brand has already been working hard to build up its directly managed stores but will really start to expand from this year. The closure of the cheaper and more basic licensed stores will mean Burberry can at last shift its brand in Japan to match the global luxury positioning.

Seven & I saved by record profits at Seven Eleven – again
Seven Eleven has long propped up its sister companies in Seven & I Holdings, but the situation is getting worse rather than better. While the convenience store posted another record profit for the first nine months of FY2014, Ito-Yokado and Nissen, both important for the group’s omnichannel strategy, suffered major dips in performance yet again.

Shueisha expands fashion e-commerce
Shueisha is one of Japan’s biggest magazine publishers, but was relatively slow to start exploiting its brands and readership through e-commerce. It acquired a business from Jupiter Shop Channel in 2013 to catch up and as a result saw sales jump 30% in 2014.

Unicharm leads growing pet market
Pets are big business in Japan, with the market already the sixth largest in the world. Major international players like Mars and Nestle do well, but domestic companies are waking up to the potential. Unicharm entered the market late, having realised the need for disposable sanitary products for pets, but it is already the leader and expanding rapidly into pet foods too.

Pal’s new apparel supermarket set for US launch this year
Pal has only just unveiled its new ‘apparel supermarket’ chain Colony 2139 in Japan, but says it will open its first US store this year. As well as being created from scratch to offer well-designed mass market basics across home ware and fashion within one store, from the start Colony 2139 was conceived as Pal’s bridgehead to global expansion.

Fung Group invests in Japanese brand distribution
Fung Group has an important stake in the Japanese apparel industry through its ownership of Kanematsu Textile, focused on supply services and some brand distribution rather than develop its own brands. From January a name change signifies a shift in thinking that will see the Japanese subsidiary develop into a major brand distributor of both its own labels and overseas brands too.

Lawson ties with Tsuruha, but pulls back on supermarkets
In the past month, Lawson has confirmed a new deal with Tsuruha, the number three drugstore chain, but announced a surprise retreat in supermarkets. Tsuruha will become a corporate franchisee, using Lawson’s know-how and convenience store supply system to develop hybrid stores. At the same time, Lawson will close round 260 Lawson 100 and Lawson Mart stores over the next 12 months, a gift to Aeon’s ambitions in city centre food retailing.

Hats, scarves and coats: finding a market in Japan
Overseas brands continue to find a ready market in Japan even with a weak Yen, both through distribution deals and direct subsidiaries. The latest include Épice, Bark, Helen Kaminski, Orla Kiely and Pandora.

Fashioning the home: the new road to riches?
In the 1980s and 1990s Japan became a fashion market like no other, with almost every generation developing a fascination with personal style and brands, and a concomitant willingness to spend. Until recently this interest in fashion as a form of personal expression, of presentation to the outside world, has entirely focused on fashioning the body. Today, though, there is a new and growing obsession: fashioning the home, a market with almost as much potential as the personal fashion market of the 1980s.

Retail Data: A mild December and a solid year

News in Brief
Private brands now accepted by most consumers
Desigual expanding fast
American Eagle forecasts sales of ¥21 billion BY 2018
Sogo Seibu introduces regional private brands
Daimaru Matsuzakaya to launch PREMIUM ONLINE store
Supermarket sales fall 0.6% in 2014, convenience stores down 0.8%
ABC Mart opens high end store in Ginza
H2O Retailing expects excellent year
Aeon runs Australian fair to celebrate trade deal
Matsumotokiyoshi: 80 duty free stores
Mitsui to open outlet mall in Toyama
Isetan-Mitsukoshi aiming for ¥100-300 billion overseas
Watch market expands 20%
Cross Company expands cosmetics brand
Meiji to increase dairy prices by 6%
Kahma becomes DCM Kahma
Seven & I introduces latest dual brand beer with Sapporo
Wacoal to launch new chain, acquires San-ai division
Brilliance+ raises more funds to expand online diamond sales
Rakuten Ties with Japan Post
Tokyu to open Cube Plaza Harajuku in March
Rakuten and Yahoo vie for Japan’s best website
Uniqlo to launch in Canada
Tokyu refreshes Tama Plaza Terrace
Hankyu Umeda launches Valentines Day Chocolate campaign

Company and Brand Index this month
Numbers indicate page of report:

ABC Mart, 5
Acne Studios, 7
Actus, 15
Adastria Holdings, 14
Adidas, 5
Aeon, 3-4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 16
Aeon Style Store, 14
Ain Pharmaciez, 10
Alice & Olivia, 3
Amazon, 10-11
American Apparel, 9
Aoyama Shoji, 3
Asoko, 15-16
Asplund, 15
Awesome Store, 15
B-Company, 15
Bals, 16
Bark, 11
Beams, 11
Bic Camera, 11
Big A, 10
Bluebell Japan, 11
Brilliance+, 9-10
Brooklyn Charm, 5
Burberry, 1, 5-6
Cainz, 13
Colony 2139, 5, 8-9
Cross Company, 8
Cube Plaza Harajuku, 10
Daiki, 8, 13
Daimaru Matsuzakaya, 4
DCM Holdings, 13
Deco Home, 14
Desigual, 3
Disney, 5
DIY Factory, 15-16
Emporio, 15
Épice Japan, 11
Erewhon, 9
Familymart, 6, 10-11
Fenix International, 9
Flagshop, 7
Flexform, 14
Flying Tiger, 5, 15
Forever 21, 5
Forward Apparel Company, 9
FrancFranc, 16
Fung Group, 1, 9
Futako Tamagawa Rise, 15
Glamour-Sales, 15
Grandfront Osaka, 15
H2O Retailing, 6
Hands Be, 16
Hartz Mountain, 8
Helen Kaminski, 11
Homac, 8, 13
Hulic, 1
Idee, 14
Idee Shop Variete, 14
IKEA, 8, 13-14, 16
Indispendible Strasburgo, 5
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 1, 5, 7
Ito-Yokado, 4, 6-7, 11
Itochu Shoji, 11
Izumiya, 6
Japan Post, 10
JR West, 5
Jupiter Shop Channel, 7
Kanematsu Textile, 9
Kitte SC, 7
Knick Knack, 15
Knoll Textiles, 14
Komeri, 13
Lauren Ralph Lauren, 11
Lawson, 1, 6, 10-11
Le Creuset, 15
Lixil, 14
Loft, 15-16
Lucua SC, 5
Lumine, 16
Mai Basuketto, 10
Maison de Fleur, 8
Marc Jacobs, 3, 7
Marimekko, 3
Mars Japan, 8
Maruetsu, 4, 10
Matsumotokiyoshi, 6, 10
Maxvalu, 6
Mirabella, 7
Misaki Shoji, 3
Mitsubishi Shoji, 3, 9
Mitsui, 4-7, 16
Mitsukoshi, 1
Momo Natural, 15
Muji, 9, 11, 14
Mungo & Maud, 15
Muy Mucho, 15
Nestle, 8
Nike, 9
Niko and…, 14
Nissen, 6-7
Nitori Deco Home, 14
Norman Hartnell, 9
Old Navy, 5
Orla Kiely, 11
Pal Group, 8-9, 15
Pandora, 11
R. O. U, 16
Rakuten, 10-11
Rep House, 15
Replay, 1, 3
Ron Herman, 14
Ryohin Keikaku, 14
San-ai, 9
Sanki Shoji, 11
Sanyo Shokai, 5
Sazaby League, 14-15
Scent of Varo, 8
Sense of Place, 10
Slow House, 15
Smart Medical, 1
Sogo Seibu, 4, 6-7, 11
Sonoma, 15
Spur, 7
Studio Clip, 14
Stylics, 15
Suntory, 11
Tabroom, 15
Tama Plaza Terrace, 11
Timeless Comfort, 15
Tokyu Hands, 11, 15-16
Tory Burch, 1, 3
Traditional Weatherwear, 5
Trinity Arts, 14
Tsuruha Holdings, 10
Unicharm, 1, 8
Uniqlo, 11, 15
Urban Research, 10, 14-15
Verite, 11
Wacoal, 9
Waki Woodwork, 15
Waterford Wedgwood, 15
Yagi Tsusho, 11
Yahoo, 10
Yakpak, 9
Yaoko, 4
Yu Nakagawa, 15
Yu-Shin Creation, 15
Yupack, 10
Zara Home, 15

JapanConsuming Headlines: January 2015

by admin on January 8, 2015

All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month

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FOCUS: E-commerce: ¥20 trillion by 2018
While traditional formats struggle with consumption tax increases, saturated markets, locational problems, and low consumer confidence, Japan’s budding e-commerce (EC) channel continues to grow rapidly. Despite the stereotype imagined by people who’ve never been here, Japan is not really the high-tech land where everyone has an engineering degree, doodles artistic works of manga over the breakfast table, and spends their free-time programming complex smartphone apps and discussing the wonders of monetary economics. But if anything defines Japan, it’s a love of shopping and the drudgery of long commutes, two things that e-commerce brings together in harmony.

Seven & I seeks more suppliers for fast expanding own brands
Sales of Seven & I private brands already exceed ¥700 billion a year. The company is now expanding the number of dual branded lines with major manufacturers ranging from apparel to food and across its empire from convenience stores to Sogo Seibu. This seems like a win-win situation, giving Seven & I access to well-established manufacturer brand names, while suppliers from Japan and overseas get their products sold in large quantities in one of the biggest retailers in the country.

The Missus market: population growth driving fashion opportunity
The obsession with youth sometimes seems even stronger in Japan than other markets even though the population is shrinking. Recently suppliers and retailers alike have been waking up to the fact that one of the few segments set to grow in the next decade will be over 40s and 50s women: the Missus market. This segment currently has too few fashion shopping options, relying on major department stores at the top end, but then stuck with regional department stores, GMS chains and independent stores for everything else. Savvy retail-led businesses that target this market are booming.

Itochu signs Accessorize
Itochu has distribution and license deals with a variety of bag and accessories brands such as Hunting World and part-owns Le Sportsac, but most of its brands are mid to upper end with little mass market presence. It has just signed a deal with the UK’s Accessorize chain to fix this.

Household savings rate turns negative, poverty rates rising
Despite receiving a mandate to continue the Abenomics experiment, at least from the 35% of the electorate who could be bothered to vote, the government faces increasing pressure to get the economy back on track. The policies of boosting export income while raising demand at home are looking increasingly incompatible as the Yen continues to weaken. At the same time, inflation remains stubbornly low, with only key import commodities prices rising significantly.

Aeon expands specialty formats
Aeon continues to abide by the ‘keep it in-house’ rule, designing a myriad of small formats meant as tenants for its own stores and mall properties. Now several of these smaller brands will be spun off as new subsidiaries, with expansion to locations outside the direct control of Aeon Group.

Costco: 50 Japanese stores
Although widely dismissed as too un-Japanese to succeed when it first opened in 1999, Costco’s wholesale clubs are a roaring success in Japan. In 2015 it will take its chain to some 24 stores nationwide with ambitions for double that number. The membership club format may be unusual in Japan, but then it is not a common format anywhere, and the mixture of bulk buying, unique product ranges and a fun shopping experience continues to attract converts. The low prices help too.

Farfetch launches in Japan
London-based Farfetch, a fast growing fashion e-commerce business, has just opened in Japan. It hopes to increase the number of Japanese shoppers at its more than 300 boutiques around the world, and encourage more Japanese boutiques to sell globally.

FrancFranc switches to the over 40s
The home fashion market is booming, but despite this, Bals, one of the largest retailers of interior accessories, has seen sales fall in recent years. Part of its problem is new competition from cheaper chains offering similar ranges of pop home goods targeting 20s and 30s women such as 3Coins and Flying Tiger. It now sees a greater opportunity in the more serious home fashion market among home owners in their late 30s and 40s.

Takashimaya introduces direct to airport delivery for duty-free
Tourist shopping is now an increasingly important market for many retailers from high end to low end. Last month Takashimaya added a delivery-to-airport service to encourage tourists to get more shopping done throughout their trip rather than just near the end of their visit. The chain is even offering the service in more remote stores.

Online proving hard for supermarkets: Summit bows out
The benefits of taking existing supermarket businesses online seem significant and there is clear customer demand for convenient, home delivery services, at least in the major conurbations. But successfully implementing an online supermarket business is expensive and subject to lots of competition. Summit, the Tokyo based chain owned and operated by Sumitomo Shoji, has decided to throw in the towel, demonstrating just how tough it can be.

United Arrows seeks growth online
United Arrows gets a healthy level of sales from online sources, but loses much of the margin, not to mention customer data, to third party e-commerce operators. In order to encourage more customers to shop with it directly, it is pioneering a clever tool developed in Sweden that helps to minimise sizing errors.

Isetan-Mitsukoshi opens highway service area stores
It is telling when Japan’s once most exclusive department store chain lends its name to a shop in a highway service area. Rather than a sign of decline however, it is testament to Isetan-Mitsukoshi’s renewed vigour, and its determination to bring its products to its customers wherever they are.

IN BRIEF
Muy Mucho launches in Japan
Tomorrowland signs Canadian lifestyle brand
Daiei name to disappear by 2018
Aeon to build more large scale SCs
A shop window for overseas jewellery designers
Zennisshoku to open supermarkets in depressed towns
Askul sees major growth in 1H2014, Lohaco adds Body Shop and Seijo Ishii
Shibuya 109 in Hong Kong
Isetan Shinjuku updates baby & maternity floor
Futako Tamagawa Rise to add annex in Spring
Uniqlo to open in Antwerp
Look opens Vera Bradley Japanese flagship
Mitsubishi Estate confirms new Nagoya landmark with Isetan as anchor
Toiletry market up 1.2%
Uniqlo sues journalists for articles on work practices
Sogo Seibu sells local lucky bags
Isetan-Mitsukoshi introduces commission-based pay
Amu Plaza Oita to open this Spring with 183 tenants
JR East expands online
Kusuri no Aoki raises operating profit 25% in 1H
Japan Post IPO announced
Benetton closes Omotesando Store
Albis acquires JA stores in Fukui

Company and Brand Index this month
Numbers indicate page of report:

A Colle, 6
A-Coop, 11
A-Price, 15
Accessorize, 1, 4
Aeon, 1, 3-4, 6, 10, 16
Akachan Honpo, 16
Albis, 11
Amu Plaza, 10
Apple, 7
Aramis, 3
Askul, 5-6, 14-15
Asos, 11
Auden, 5
Bals Tokyo, 9
Barneys Japan, 16
Beams, 11
Belluna, 15
Benetton, 11
Bic Camera, 15
The Body Shop, 6
Charlie’s, 1
Cocoku, 7
Costco Japan, 7
Cour Carre, 3
Cycle Spot, 6
Daiei, 3-4
Desigual, 7
Dinos, 11
Doclasse, 4
Dries Van Noten, 3
Edion, 15
Egoist, 8
Emporio, 3
Enoteca, 6
EpsonDirect, 14-15
Expasa Fujikawa, 11
FarFetch, 1, 7-8
Fast Retailing, 7
Felissimo, 15
Fitfit, 4
Flying Tiger, 8
FrancFranc, 1, 8-9, 16
Fuji Keizai, 15
Futako Tamagawa Rise, 7
Hunting World, 4
IKEA, 6, 8
Ikspiari, 3
Infinitye Ventures, 8
Isabel Marant, 3
Isetan, 6, 8-9
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 1, 9, 11
Ito-Yokado, 10, 15-16
Itochu Shoji, 4
J Front Retailing, 9
J Period, 9
Japan Post, 11
Jason Wu., 4
Jean Paul Knott, 3
Joshin Denki, 15
JR East, 10
JR Kyushu, 10
Kakaku.com, 15
Kanpo Life Insurance, 11
Kenkocom, 15
Kinokuniya, 10
Kirin, 1
Kojima, 15-16
Komiya, 4
Koos, 3
Kusuri no Aoki, 10
Laglaia, 3
Lanvin, 4
Lapine, 3
Le Sportsac, 4
Leilian, 4
Limited Edition, 1, 3, 8-9
LINE, 4, 7, 15-16
Locondo, 13, 15
Loft, 6, 8, 16
Lohaco, 5-6, 14
Look, 7
Magaseek, 11, 15-16
Maison Ullens, 3
Maji, 4
Marui, 15
Maya Magal, 5
MI Plaza, 11
Ministop, 6
Mitsubishi Estate, 8
Mitsui, 8
Mitsukoshi, 3, 9
Mixi, 15
Mizuone, 3
MO851, 3
Monsoon, 4, 11
Muji, 15
Muy Mucho, 3
Nemika, 4
Neopasa Shimizu, 11
Nissen, 13, 15-16
Nitori, 6, 8
Nomura Research Institute, 13
NTT Docomo, 11
Oisix, 15
Outlet Peak, 16
PC Bomber, 15
R. O. U., 6
Rachel Entwhistle, 5
Radishboya, 15
Rakuten, 13, 15-16
Recods, 6
Seijo Ishii, 5-6
Seiyu, 10
Seria, 8
Seven Eleven, 1, 16
Sofmap, 15
Sogo Seibu, 1, 3, 8-9, 16
Soukai Drug, 15
Start Today, 13, 15-16
Stylife, 16
Sumitomo Shoji, 10
Summit, 1, 10, 14
Takashimaya, 1, 9
Toho Cinemas, 10
Tokyu Hands, 6, 10
Tokyu Malls Development, 6
Tomorrowland, 3
Uniqlo, 6-8, 15
United Arrows, 11, 16
Urban Research, 11
Vera Bradley, 7-8
Virtusize, 11
WTW, 9
Yahoo Japan, 15
Yamada Denki, 6, 15
Yodobashi Camera, 15
Z-Chain, 5
Zara Home, 7-8
Zennisshoku, 5
Zozotown, 4, 11, 16

JapanConsuming: Headlines December 2014

by admin on December 6, 2014

Click here for all brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month

JapanConsuming: 1412

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Leading shopping centre sales rise 4.2%
Shopping centres had a great year in FY2013 thanks to higher spending on fashions, food and lifestyle goods. The top selling SCs fared much better than the sector as a whole, which was up 2.6% overall but down 0.5% on a like for like basis. The increase in spending before the tax hike on non-essential high ticket items such as fashion and the sharp rise in tourism helped lift station and other SCs at transport hubs. As a result JR-operated SCs made up nine of the top 15 SCs by sales densities. Aeon continues to dominate overall, and to such an extent that some consumers are now being dubbed Aeonists to describe the breadth of transactions with parts of the Aeon empire in work, rest, play, and even death.

Don Quijote launches Lidl-style chain to attack convenience stores
Don Quijote, the country’s largest discount chain, is launching a new format designed to take on convenience stores and mini-supermarkets. Using know-how gleaned from its acquisition of Nagasakiya, it is confident it has solved the problem of food distribution but will also sell apparel, toys and electronics too. The idea looks like a small version of Lidl, and original enough to appeal to the growing number of price conscious suburban shoppers.

Editorial: Japan’s not so brave, old world?

Try before you buy e-commerce launches with Matsuya as partner
A new app is helping retailers link customers with online shopping options, benefiting both the e-commerce operator and retailer alike, while helping customers try before they buy in a convenient location.

Isetan Osaka and Lucua plan unveiled – a trial for more small Isetan stores
JR West will unveil a new section to its Lucua SC at Osaka Station next Spring, taking over 30,000 sqm of sales space from Isetan-Mitsukoshi. The latter will no longer have a contiguous sales space of its own, forced instead to operate separate sales areas as small stores. Ironically, this may turn out to be great news for Isetan, helping trial its plans for a string of distinct small format chains. These will include accessories stores, and from next year even an Isetan Wedding chain.

Robotic fashion styling
Software which makes perfect recommendations to fashion consumers has been the holy grail of online fashion stores for years, but while recommendation engines have improved, this is largely based on the likes and dislikes of peers with similar purchase patterns. A new start up claims its solution offers much better accuracy, promising a new way for fashion brands to get in front of the eyeballs of Japanese consumers.

Seven Eleven: the donut issue
Seven Eleven began the rollout of new counter displays selling six flavours of donut last month. Although seemingly very minor news, this is so much more than just the latest merchandising idea from the country’s largest retail chain. The new idea not only complements the massively successful ‘counter coffee’ introduced last year, it also shows again how Seven Eleven will disrupt food and food service retailing. Seven Eleven is yet again pushing its rivals to make a choice between emulating the sector leader or continuing along a slower route to greater diversification. Everyone else selling donuts in Japan is in for a very rough time. What product category is next?

Targeting the over 50s
There are few large, dedicated fashion chains for seniors despite being the fastest growing market in terms of population. Leilian is one, but the firm has struggled to innovate, focussing instead on managing the transition in ownership from Renown to Itochu. Under the trading firm’s new lead it has spent the last two years revamping supply chains and is now beginning to launch more appealing brands to suit the modern mindset of today’s late 40s and 50s women. These stores include a large number of international brands, presenting new opportunities for fashion labels selling into this segment.

Yamada Denki: the community store
Yamada Denki’s efforts at building up online sales have been hampered by a high level of strategic inertia which continues to emphasise store-based sales. Now, leveraging its growing network of independent franchisees, Yamada plans to kill two birds with one stone, using the franchise network as a new sales arm to reach local customers and boost online sales at the same time, expanding sales not only of electronics but household goods, food and books.

United Arrows’ star waning?
United Arrows was the investors’ darling only nine months ago when new initiatives to increase demand tracking and to attract new groups of younger male consumers seemed to be making headway. Since April, however, customers are turning away from the brand, partly as a result of price increases 12 months ago, and the generally strong shift to lower prices by rivals on the one hand, and higher end stores targeting the new rich on the other.

Matsukiyo to introduce duty-free and EDLP formats
With competitive pressures building, Matsumotokiyoshi is looking to maintain its lead by introducing new store formats, expanding the range of non-prescription merchandise like cosmetics and household goods. The move comes in response to Aeon’s desire to consolidate its drugstore operations in the coming year, making it the largest player in the sector when all GMS and other non-specialty drugstore format sales are included. Matsukiyo will also join a host of other retailers in rolling out duty-free services aimed at tourists.

Adastria to merge Point and Trinity Arts in bid to find new growth
Adastria’s main Point subsidiary hit a wall in the last few years, with much slower levels of growth after a decade of rarely being beaten. To fix this, it acquired fast growing retailer Trinity Arts, which continues to power ahead, up 42% last year. It will now merge the two businesses, hoping that some of the latter’s magic will rub off on Point. At the same time it is investing in expanding the key Niko and… chain to sell a much greater proportion of overseas fashion labels.

Start Today claims 10 million users, but closes outlet site
Start Today continues to close trial operations which have failed to take off as hoped while continuing to upgrade its core business. Above all it is focused on beating Amazon and other competitors in customer service, now extending free same day shipping to Kansai, a service which has helped boost membership in recent months.

News in Brief
Spain’s Uno de 50 in Japan
Tourists reach record numbers
Spain’s Munich shoe brand in Japan
Department Stores hoping for premium Christmas
Itochu signs Derek Lam and Cacherel
Red Mango frozen yoghurt launches in Japan
Aeon begins exclusive sales of Picard
Senior consumer targeting expanding rapidly
H2O expands cosmetics chain to men
Daiei ratifies Aeon takeover
Muji to introduce self-scanning
Japan falls into recession, second tax hike postponed
Sagawa launches large scale logistics services
Nihonbashi renaissance plans continue around Takashimaya
Keidanren: winter bonuses to rise 5.7%
Japan’s Etsy launches mobile app
Biggest Stradivarius store in world opens in Osaka
Seria jumps 10.5%
Keikyu unveils new men’s floor
L.L. Bean opens in Aeon Laketown
Direct mail market hits ¥5.8 trillion

Company and Brand Index this month
Numbers indicate page of report:

beno Harukas, 16
Adastria Holdings, 10
Aeon Group, 9
Aldi, 1
Amazon, 5, 8, 11
Aquagirl, 5
Belle Maison, 3
Bershka, 10
Burberry London, 7
Cacherel, 4
Circle K Sunkus, 6
Clinique, 6
Collect Point, 11
Colourful Board, 5
Converse Footwear, 7
Coronet, 4, 7
Cosmos Berry, 7
Cosmos Yakuhin, 10
Creema, 9-10
Cyberagent, 10
Daiei, 5, 7
Derek Lam, 4
Dmet Label, 3
Don Quijote, 1
Dries Van Noten, 4
Dunkin Donuts, 5
Duskin, 5
Ecute, 6
Edifice, 5
Estnation, 4
Etsy, 9-10
Excelsior, 6
Fab, 9
Familymart, 6
FG Joy, 5
Flying Tiger, 4
Forever 21, 4
Fruit Gathering, 5-6
Galloria, 6
Glenroyal, 11
Global Work, 10
Goodday Park, 6
Grand Tree Musashi Kosugi, 6, 14
Grandfront Osaka, 4, 13
H2O Retailing, 5
Hasekou, 4
Hawaiian Donuts, 6
HEP Five, 13
Hyke, 4
Inditex, 8, 10
Isetan Mirror & Make, 6
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 3-4, 7, 9, 16
Ito-Yokado, 6, 9
Itochu Fashion System, 4
Itochu Shoji, 4, 6-7
JADMA, 11
Jason Wu, 7
Joix, 7
JR East, 13-14
JR West, 3, 16
Keikyu Department Store, 10
Keio, 5
Krispy Kreme, 5
Kyo Yasu Do Big Conbini, 1
L. L. Bean, 11
Lala Terrace, 16
Lalaport, 6, 14
Lanvin, 7
Lazona Kawasaki, 13
Lidl, 1
Lucua, 1, 3-4, 13, 16
Lumine Est, 14
Lumine Ikebukuro, 13
Lumine Shinjuku, 14
Lumine Yurakucho, 14
Magaseek, 11
Mai Basuketto, 1
Maison Martin Margiela, 4
Margaret Howell, 4
Mark IS, 6, 14
Marni, 4
Massimo Dutti, 10
Matsumotokiyoshi, 9
Matsuya, 1, 3
McDonalds, 6
Mitsubishi Estate, 14
Mitsubishi Estate-Simon, 13
Mitsui Real Estate, 14
Mr. Donuts, 5-6
Mujirushi Ryohin, 7
Munich, 3
Nano Universe, 4-5
Nemika, 7
Nina Ricci, 7
Nishida Tsusho, 3
NTT Docomo, 4-5, 11
Old Navy, 4
Onward, 16
Outlet Peak, 11
Parco, 14
Picard, 5
Pieri SC, 10
Pinkoi, 10
Rainbow Spectrum, 3
Red Mango, 4-5
Ron Herman, 9
Rosebud, 5
Sagawa Kyubin, 8
Samantha Thavasa, 4
Sanei International, 4
Sanki Shoji, 4
Seibu Sogo, 6
Seijo Ishii, 6
Senshukai, 3
Seria, 10
Shiseido, 5
Start Today, 1, 11
Stradivarius, 10
Studio Clip, 10-11
Suntory, 3, 6
Takashimaya, 8-9, 14
Tokyo Solamachi, 13
Tokyu Plaza, 6
Toray Diplomode, 4
Toshin Kaihatsu, 9, 14
Trinity Arts, 1, 10-11
TSI Holdings, 4
United Arrows, 1, 8-9
Viktor & Rolf, 4
Walmart Seiyu, 10
Watashi Plus, 5
Yamada Denki, 1, 7
Zara, 10
Zara Home, 10
Zozotown, 11

JapanConsuming Headlines: November 2014

November 4, 2014

All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Click here to Subscribe Now Focus: Convenience Stores: and then there were three Convenience stores seem to go from strength to strength. This year will set another new record for the number of new stores added to the three largest chains alone – and these three […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines: October 2014

October 6, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Apparel Retailing FY2013: the best year in 15 Apparel sales powered ahead last year, driven by consumer demand, excellent retailing and a stronger emphasis on value rather than price. With the exception of GMS stores sales rose across all formats – […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines: September 2014

September 6, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Focus: Department Stores FY2013: a blip or a sustained recovery? Sales at department stores rose for the first time in 16 years in 2013 and by a solid percentage too. The uplift came from a splurge of high ticket consumption prior […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines July/August 2014

July 8, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Focus: Sales peak or new beginning? Retail results FY2013 FY2013 retail results were heavily influenced by both renewed consumer confidence and increased spending spurred by the pending tax increase, but they also represent a new benchmark for the industry. Whereas a […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines: June 2014

June 8, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Focus on Drugstores: convenience stores for women Drugstores were mostly small, independent stores or small regional chains as recently as 10 years ago. Today they make up one of the most dynamic retail sectors in the country. In volume it is […]

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