JapanConsuming Headlines July/August 2014

by Roy Larke on July 8, 2014


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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 decade ago, the high performing retailers stood out as the exceptions, last year the opposite was true, with just a small number of strugglers in the top 50. Some worry that this represents a peak for some companies, but given the way the industry has evolved, it’s more likely to be a starting point for the next phase.

Marui to switch to SC model
Marui is often classified as a department store because most of the brands in its buildings are contracted on a concession basis, just like a traditional department store, even though many of the tenants are specialty chains. This definition also makes sense given Marui’s low level of profit, partly the result of this same operating model. Marui will finally fix this, shifting its entire portfolio of stores to the shopping centre model by 2018. More stable revenues and higher profits should follow, and the switch in contracts will mean an overhaul of tenants too.

44% of consumers shopping online
The government’s Consumer Bureau recently completed a survey of consumer mindsets and problems. Many of the problems identified will be of little surprise, but the results confirm once again a continued shift towards online shopping – including purchases overseas – and how much that will effect the market as a whole.

Isetan, the women’s specialty chain
Isetan-MItsukoshi enjoyed a significant jump in turnover last year and is optimistic about the future – a future where the department store moniker will be increasingly inappropriate. It is already well advanced in rolling out small store chains, but its latest initiative to create a specialty women’s fashion chain is the project with the most potential.

Aeon to make Daiei a supermarket, may scrap Daiei brand
Aeon has announced plans to turn Daiei into a supermarket chain, handing over the recently acquired chain’s regional GMS outlets to other Aeon businesses. With every expectation that Aeon will turn Daiei into a majority owned subsidiary in the next 12 months, the chain’s new major shareholder is keen to reposition Daiei and make it work effectively with other assets in the Aeon Group.

Department stores reporting strong luxury sales
Despite fears of a downturn following the consumption tax increase in April, sales in many sectors remain strong. Although sales of high end art and jewellery sales were frenzied in March and remain weak as a result, department stores are reporting strong sales in luxury brands even now.

Itochu signs yet more brands
Itochu has more than 150 brands under management, with a portfolio management style akin to a music conglomerate, continually questing for new prospects. Its latest signings include Emanuel Ungaro, Eastpak, Hunter and Breuer, all on behalf of Coronet, which is becoming a major player in brand distribution once more.

Lawson to expand drugstores
Lawson is set to expand its directly operated drugstore business. With all major convenience store players expanding into the same area, Lawson will add both more franchise partners from existing drugstore chains and convert around 500 of its own convenience stores to drugstores, as well as open new, directly operated Lawson Drug outlets.

Magaseek expands fashion e-commerce for NTT Docomo
NTT Docomo’s fashion e-commerce venture, dfashion, has been operating for six months and is slowly garnering a share of the mobile fashion market – in particular it looks like being a useful source of sales if you sell to men – but faces stiff competition from entrenched players.

Virtual changing rooms: a marriage of online and retail
Various attempts have been made to make virtual changing rooms a reality, but the technology has so far been more of a toy than a tool with genuine commercial potential. Using new software, Urban Research tested its first stand alone virtual changing room store last month. It hopes a chain of such stores could bridge the gap between online and offline retailing, and even imagines staff-less stores akin to photo booths in stations and SCs.

People shortage hitting regions and retailers quicker than expected
Japan faces a massive drop off in population over the next two decades, but the effects of internal emigration out of rural areas into the cities has increased beyond expectation in the past two years. This will have major implications for consumer goods marketers in the future who will need to start planning now. For retailers too, the growing shortage of low cost part-time workers in these areas is becoming a serious one, causing major chains to begin rethinking their entire business model.

Baroque unveils global brands
Thanks to its Chinese shareholders, Baroque Japan is now gearing up for a new life as a multinational fashion retailer. Last month it showcased four new apparel brands aimed at both increasing market share at home and accelerating expansion in Asia, while also launching a new footwear chain.

Retail Data: May sales not bad at all

News in Brief
Tiffany to open stand alone in Shinjuku, Coach too
IKEA Japan to open 8th store
Women to live over 90 on average
GU opens in Shibuya Parco with GU Fitting service, announces 5% price increase
More mega SCs planned
MAC opens new concept store
Urban Research ties with The Body Shop
Locondo ties with Base to help overseas brands into Japanese e-commerce
Sumitomo signs with JRunway
Blue Bottle Coffee comes to Japan
H2O Retailing up 10% in 2013
Nomura Real Estate plans neighbourhood SC development
Amazon Japan launches designer’s baby store
Seibu Ikebukuro to refurbish street and basement levels
Kohnan Shoji ordered to stop sale of unapproved ELECTRONICS
Tokyu to build new SC in Shibuya
Forever 21 in Nagoya
United Arrows reports good start to Bow & Arrows
Takashimaya begins home delivery of fresh foods
Retail sales holding steady
Beisia moving into drugstores

JapanConsuming Headlines: June 2014

by Roy Larke on June 8, 2014

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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 about to become the latest retail sector to overtake department stores, and is one where, again, Aeon dominates with 22% share. Consolidation and further modernisation is on the cards. This and the diverse formats and even wider array of merchandise mean they are an increasingly important conduit for a multitude of consumer brands from cosmetics to food, and a great channel to reach women.

April and May retail sales steady
Retail sales fell in April as expected, and by marginally more than in 1997, but the industry still performed well and the extreme decline feared by manydid not happen. Indeed, many chains were reporting that sales were back to levels seen in 2013 by the end of the month and others were already back on track in May.

Editorial: Where are the local luxury brands?

Burberry takes control in Japan
As expected Burberry will cancel its main licenses in Japan next year. Headlines quoted plans to quadruple sales in Japan but the actual sales referred to were Burberry’s existing direct operations in Japan, not licensees. There is nevertheless a clear intention to invest heavily in growing the Japanese market, especially retail investment. Sanyo Shokai is at last moving on, licensing a new label from UK brand Mackintosh called Mackintosh London, which it hopes to open in many current Burberry concessions, but competition for this space will be stiff.

Delvaux sets up shop in Japan
One of the oldest and most exclusive European bag brands is finally coming to Japan thanks to investment by Li & Fung. Delvaux will open here in August and plans a string of stores and concessions over the next five years.

Small city supermarkets: the latest food format begins to take-off
Convenience store expansion has passed its peak and retailers are looking for new solutions for small footprint food retailing. The number of c-stores exceeded 50,000 in November, reaching 50,890 stores in February and then dropping in March. With the exception of sector leader Seven Eleven, all the major chains, along with various supermarkets (see Page 5), have begun to shift away from the standard and ubiquitous 100 sqm, snack food filled stores.

Inditex rolls out new stores, Zara Home breaking records
Inditex Japan now has four of its Spanish parent’s brands operating here, and based on plans for the rest of this year, looks like entering a new phase of expansion, creating one of the largest foreign retail businesses in Japan. Stradivarius’s launch in Japan in January and Zara Home’s new flagship in Aoyama were met with such success that Inditex must surely be considering other house brands for this market.

Aeon to consolidate supermarket interests, create new Kanto chain
Having announced a consolidation of drugstore interests back in March, in May Aeon said it plans to establish a new operating company for three of its main supermarket interests in Tokyo, with other Kanto companies joining in later phases. While long expected, the news brought a flurry of speculation as to future moves. An openly consolidated structure not only challenges Seven & I in the capital, it also signals a new push by Aeon to grab market share. There’s even talk of Uny becoming a takeover target.

Ace: a travel solutions business
Ace is Japan’s biggest home-grown luggage firm, despite losing both Samsonite and Tumi over the last decade. As well as signing replacements, it is also investing heavily in its own brands with plans to globalise distribution over the next few years with the help of US subsidiary Zero Halliburton and Italian partner Pelletteria Clio.

Japan Post to launch e-commerce and fulfilment service
Japan Post will be publicly listed next year and has been preparing a move into a brasher, more commercial world for years. Its latest plan is to exploit its trusted brand, post office network and logistics to create a one stop shop e-commerce service emulating the merchant services of Rakuten and Amazon and the logistics capabilities of Yamato and Sagawa.

Aeon: switching to city centres
Shopping centres are at the heart of Aeon’s business. By late 2016, Aeon will have completed a series of large scale malls stretching across the country, including improved entertainment features, better location targeting, and improved integration with other retail banners in the group. The only problem is that 70% of Aeon’s existing malls are in areas where populations are set to decline markedly by 2025 and it is nearing capacity in the regions, explaining the retail giant’s new found enthusiasm for city centres.

Snap your fashion desires
New ways to use smartphones to find great fashion continue to emerge, the latest launching last month in London combining scanning technologies with social networking that could threaten home-grown apps like Wear, while providing new ways to market fashion.

Retail Data: Department stores down 12% in April

News in Brief
Old Navy sets up in Kanazawa, increases store opening pace
Takashimaya & H2O RETAILING to expand merchandise collaboration
Iwataya Mitsukoshi to target younger crowd with new fashion floor
QVC Japan breaks ¥100 billion
Bra sizes INCREASING says Triumph
Mitsubishi increases stake in Life supermarket
Italian brand Fix Design in Japan
Restaurant sales up in April DESPITE TAX INCREASE
Aeon Mall delays shopping mall opening due to cost increases
Sazaby signs Hawaiian organic cosmetics brand
Bic Camera ties with Radishboya
Stores.jp ties with Parco
Lasalle buys Malera Gifu
Coach to open Shinjuku flagship
Mitsubishi Estate-Simon sees sales up 12%
Familymart ties with Fujio Food, opens new convenience store hybrid
Seven Eleven begins rollout in JR West stations
United Arrows to open sports store with running station
Arcs to merge Belleplus and Jois
GU hits 11 million online members
Futako Tamagawa Rise set for completion in 2015.
Familymart renews its loyalty point system
Rakuten opens delivery lockers in Osaka
Aeon and Sapporo launch discount beer

JapanConsuming Headlines May 2014

by Roy Larke on May 6, 2014

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Focus: Retail groups: M&A to shape retailing future
Retailing in Japan has been consolidating since the late 1990s, starting with Itochu’s acquisition of Familymart from the now defunct Seibu Saison Group, and the bankruptcy of Sogo soon after. After several years of tentative exchanges and realignments, M&A has at last become a core part of retail strategy, just as it is in many other countries. Over the past three years, the pace of consolidation has continued to increase. We’re now at the stage where many sectors are close to saturation, making acquisitions even more likely in coming months.

Apparel retailers to launch major new chains for global markets
Womenswear fashion retailers like Cross Company, Pal, Baroque and Mash Style Lab are now medium-sized firms with sales as high as ¥100 billion, but all have recently announced new chains that will hopefully let them escape the confines and limits of young womenswear fashions and become genuinely big businesses. The solution is the mass market at home and global expansion, including Europe and the USA. All have come up with ideas on how to tackle both, with plans for as much as ¥1 trillion in sales.

Editorial: The coming consolidation

Retail sales surge in March
So, with the consumption tax introduced on 1 April, just how well did retailers do in March? On the whole, the situation was similar to the last increase back in 1997, but with far greater buying of high end items and, for some categories, sales increases that were as high as the month before the tax was first introduced in 1989. Supermarkets expect the consequent downturn to last no longer than April and May.

Cosmetics brands enjoy buying rush
Major cosmetics brands enjoyed large sales boosts in March as customers rushed to stock up on product before the price increase – this despite the fact that some in the industry had said to expect little impact given that ‘customers only buy when they need cosmetics’. The same executives are expecting a short sales lull, which they will offset with expanded promotional campaigns, and that the rebound will begin by July.

Seiyu preparing for more direct imports, introduces new price cuts
Seiyu is again taking a lead in the FMCG sector. Two years after shocking the industry with price cuts on basic goods, causing rivals to complain bitterly about excessive competition, the US owned chain announced more price reductions in April. In addition, it is now preparing to better leverage Walmart’s global supply system, bypassing Japanese trading houses and other routes to reduce costs and so offer even lower prices, even on some vegetables and fruits.

Middle aged women enjoying their time alone
There’s an increasing need for companies to look carefully at catering to older Japanese. There are already 16 million households over 65, of whom more than 5 million live alone. With the number of permanently single people in their 40s and 50s continuing to grow, this is a new, important segment and one that’s not going to disappear over the next two decades. But what do they want?

Used luxury goes mainstream
Used luxury goods sites might seem like a threat to sales of new luxury product at retail stores but, as with luxury cars and indeed gadgets, having an easy way to offload unwanted items often encourages further consumption, and brings new customers to brands without the budget to shop at full price. The problem has been finding an easy, trustworthy way for buyers and owners to deal. With the former head of Louis Vuitton Japan heading up one of the leading platforms, this problem looks to have been solved.

Sanyo Shokai prepares for Burberry departure in 2015
It is already widely accepted that Burberry will not renew its key Japanese apparel license with Sanyo Shokai and master license with Mitsui Bussan next year. Given that the UK brand accounts for as much as a third of Sanyo’s sales and significant royalty income for Mitsui, it will be a blow for both firms. Sanyo has had plenty of forewarning, however, and is positive it can make up the loss.

Showrooming on the rise as online sales expand
The future of retailing is in the so-called omnichannel, seamlessly linking physical stores and customer pick-up points, with the ease and low cost of selling direct online. NRI’s latest lifestyle survey run in 2012 and published recently provides further evidence for this trend. Although more people are browsing in stores to check out products before buying, increasingly the final purchase is online.

Parco forecasts 10% increase in sales
Parco now has money and it plans to spend it too. With backing from new main shareholder J Front Retailing it is sprucing up long-neglected buildings, adding new ones, and even expanding its specialty chain business again.

United Arrows launches new brands
United Arrows has big plans to double sales by 2021 and has already launched four new brands in the last few months, with more to come.

Cosmos Berry’s: Yamada Denki’s way into the senior market not so secret weapon
Yamada Denki is the dominant consumer electronics retailer with 25% of the market. The company faces pressure from declining sales due to market saturation, and has begun diversifying into new businesses as a result. But it has not given up on expanding market share yet, and already has 8,000 independent stores signed up as franchisees.

Retail Data: Department stores up 25.4% in March

News in Brief
Musashi Kosugi becomes key suburban retail hub
Japan to get largest Stradivarius store in November
Aoyama Shoji launches new chain for shopping centre market
ABC Mart launches men’s and women’s fashion footwear stores
Isetan-Mitsukoshi and Japan Post launch joint venture
Kintetsu Hoop relaunches
Sogo Chiba gets a facelift and web orders
J Front and partners confirm Matsuzakaya Ginza replacement
Low cost carriers enter the mobile phone market
Nitori to expand smartphone marketing
World launches new lifestyle chain
Amu Atsugi replaces Parco building
Harman opens first Japanese store
Department stores suffer in April
Kisarazu Mitsui Outlet Park to open expansion in July
Rakuten expands loyalty points system for retailers
Rice consumption still declining
Cheese producers take opportunity to increase prices
Seven & I, J Front, Lawson all report record profits
Hermes thanks Japan for sales increase
H2O to open in China
Joyful Honda completes IPO

JapanConsuming: Headlines April 2014

by Roy Larke on April 7, 2014

Polarising Market: winners and losers in Japan’s leading city markets
Japan is facing a major drop off in population over the next 40-60 years – and the decline has already begun. Government forecasts expect a reduction of as much as a third of the current 127 million people. But not all cities or regions will lose population as quickly as others and some will actually increase. In Japan’s Top 100 Markets: Now to 2025, JapanConsuming has produced the first ever English language guide to Japan’s leading markets. The main conurbations, and especially the cities around Tokyo, will see an influx of new residents as people move for better access to entertainment, services, health care and jobs. These cities will gain the lion’s share of investment and marketing of consumer goods and services. The new report helps to work out which markets to focus on.

Urban Research: 50 stores a year pace, 20% plus sales growth
Urban Research used to be a standard select shop, but has begun to diversify into the premium brand business, providing opportunities for overseas brands, and into mass market SPA retailing. It has seen sales rise from just ¥3 billion in 2001 to an expected ¥35 billion in FY2013 and is projecting an increase of 20% to ¥43 billion this year.

Editorial: Identifying the best markets

Large store sales surge in 2013: top 50 department stores up 4.7%
2013 was a good year for retailing, and the results for the 12 months to December mirror the early financial year results now appearing. Department stores did particularly well, with the higher end stores far outperforming suburban and regional stores.

Number of new SCs remains steady
The number of newly opened SCs doubled in 2013 compared to 2012, and a similar number is in the pipeline for this year too. More competition is good news for retailers and brands, but means choosing ever more carefully where to locate stores and which retailers to sell to. A shift towards more diverse merchandising is creating opportunities for overseas retailers to bring in new formats, and for brands selling homeware, interiors, food, and fashion.

Price wars loom as tax hike takes effect
The much anticipated Consumption Tax increase came into force at midnight on 1 April, with consumers stripping shelves of some product and others buying gold bullion just in case. Unlike 1997 when the tax was last raised, retailers are much more savvy today and a range of price cuts and campaigns have already been announced. Price has suddenly become the key criteria for a lot of consumption choices.

MCM: ¥10 billion sales per year
German bag brand MCM was a major hit in Japan in the 1980s but pulled out more than a decade ago due to weak sales. Since being taken over by a Korean retailer, the brand has seen a revival and will relaunch in Japan this month with ambitious plans for sales of ¥10 billion in three years.

Lanvin up 10% to ¥37 billion
Itochu Shoji is master licensee for a myriad of brands, but some are more successful than others. One of its biggest hits in the last few years has been Lanvin, which it signed in 2002 and which it has built up from a ¥15 billion a year business to ¥37 billion largely through a successful licensed second line, Lanvin en Bleu.

Look buys Laisse Passe
Look has increased its share of the premium imported brand market in apparel, accessories and footwear through assiduous signings and investment in the last five years. It now plans to expand its own retail brands into Marui and the better shopping centres, acquiring womenswear retailer Laisse Passe last month to accelerate the process.

Seiyu introduces ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ policy for fresh foods
In an unprecedented move for Japan, Walmart has introduced a ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ policy for fresh foods throughout its entire 374 store Seiyu chain. Previous attempts to introduce what is a standard policy for Walmart overseas floundered due to dismissive store employees, but Walmart hopes the new move will help improve quality standards throughout its supply chain, reduce wastage, and impress the customer all at the same time – even offering money-back on food that has already been eaten.

GU: sales of ¥100 billion this year
GU has grown from scratch to sales of ¥83 billion in seven years and expects to hit ¥100 billion this year. It continues to expand store numbers rapidly while working on new, more fashionable merchandising as it begins to expand overseas.

Running Boom continues
Jogging has its fanatics in every country, but in Japan the sport has a fast expanding base of some 10 million people of all ages. Perhaps more than many countries, the enthusiasm for pounding the pavement is matched or even exceeded by the love of accessorising the daily ritual.

Sunkus loses another 100 stores
Circle K Sunkus is looking increasingly shaky. Owned by Uny Group, the chain used area franchises to expand rapidly in the 1990s, giving branding rights to companies with geographical exclusivity. Many of these contracts are now coming to an end and a growing number of franchisees are switching allegiance to one of the larger players. The latest defection by Sunkus Keihanna in Kansai is the biggest so far, but more are expected.

Nitori: 15 years of record profits, sales up 11% to ¥386 billion
Nitori appears to go from strength to strength. Despite having a business based on direct imports from China, last year it overcame higher costs due to the weakened Yen, and with particularly high demand in the final quarter, reported another record performance. The company is introducing higher quality lines and opening more stores, both at home and overseas. It sees demand rising again after a six month post tax lull, and expects more low cost homeware chains to emerge in the next few years.

Fashion retailers expect 10-30% of sales online
The growth in fashion e-commerce concerned many fashion retailers at first but most at least accept its inevitable growth, and some are now embracing it. A recent survey suggests more than half of firms believe online sales will account for 10-30% of the total, but a few think e-commerce should account for more.

Home centres grow 0.9%, but sector struggling to compete
Home centres are Japan’s answer to DIY stores in the West, but it is a sector that overlaps heavily with GMS chains and one that increasingly finds it hard to compete. 2013 was a reasonable year, but all of the 0.9% growth in sales came from new space added by just a handful of top companies. Like supermarkets and drugstores, the sector could well be in line for a major shake-out very soon.

Familymart to pull out of Korea
Familymart is the number three convenience store chain, but it is losing sales share to both of the larger two firms. Now, its core strategy of overseas expansion has taken a major blow with the chain planning to pull out of Korea, wiping out 60% of overseas stores.

Retail Data: Retail sales up 3.6%

News in Brief
More updates for Isetan-Mitsukoshi
IKEA to open in Tachikawa, Sendai store confirmed
J Front targets young women
Gransasso starts Japan sales
Itochu buys Edwin
American Eagle to add four stores this Spring
Sazaby League signs Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture
Zara Home opens in Aoyama, more stores coming
Hanshin Umeda to be rebuilt by 2021
Apparel imports rise 21%
Shibuya 109 to open in Kyushu
Uniqlo launches app to sell direct from flyers
JR East plans 66,000 sqm SC in Yokohama
Alibi Alley closes in Osaka
Life, Seven & I raise wages
Seven Eleven to acquire 500 JR WEST in-station stores
Grand Front Osaka gets 46 million visitors
Arcs acquires Belle Group
Felissimo opens two outlet stores
JR West expands retail ambitions
Familymart opens hybrid store in Tokyo
Izumiya & H2O Retailing report ¥920 billion in sales
Valor acquisitions continue
Yamada Denki introduces first checkout free, smartphone payment system

JapanConsuming Headlines: March 2014

by Roy Larke on March 7, 2014

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Get ready for 20 million tourists
Japan has the lowest levels of inbound tourism among advanced economies, but this is about to change thanks to lavish marketing, the growing affluence of neighbouring populations, Japan’s increasing soft power, and in 2020 the Olympics. The benefits to retailers and brands will be immense.

Focus: The Senior Market has arrived
The fact that Japan has the most rapidly ageing population in the world may be well known, but the impact of this change is still only vaguely understood. Retailers, however, are at last beginning to think through the implications and respond – they have little choice.

Editorial: Retail Sales Booming

Isetan-Mitsukoshi launches more small format stores
Isetan-Mitsukoshi has already proven its capacity to think beyond department stores through a series of small format concepts, and it will launch two more in the next year. These are helping the department store group reach new customers and better serve its core target too. Given the scale of investment, calling Isetan a department store business could well become a misnomer in a few years. Other department stores are looking at similar moves too.

Marui, Shimamura, Honeys to hold down prices from April
Although regulations demand that powerful major retailers don’t force suppliers to absorb the coming consumption tax increase, the same rules cannot be easily applied where private brands are now the norm. In the past couple of weeks, multiple companies have come out to say they will keep prices static and some will even reduce prices after 1 April in order to counter the general perception that everything in the shops is more expensive.

Kenzo signs with Yagi Tsusho
The Yen may have weakened from ¥100 to ¥140 to the Euro but enthusiasm for European brands continues unabated. Yagi Tsusho signed three brands in the last six months, including Kenzo.

Trinity Arts growth continues
Japan has a host of fast growing fashion retailers. One of the most consistent is Trinity Arts which is using the large cash pile of new parent Adastria to rapidly expand existing chains and launch new ones, including for overseas markets.

Supermarket M&A boom imminent
2014 could be a rough year for some – but problems with consumer confidence could be yet another reason pushing retailers towards greater consolidation. Last month saw what is the most significant merger in retail history between H2O Retailing and Izumiya. There have been bigger mergers financially speaking, but this is the largest between two solvent and actively competitive retailers. The news could well mean a psychological barrier to similar mergers has finally collapsed.

Direct marketing firms face pressure
Apparel e-commerce is an intensely competitive business and getting tougher. This is making life harder than ever for the main catalogue businesses, helping explain Nissen’s decision to accept the embrace of Seven & I Holdings.

Itochu signs more brands
Itochu Shoji isn’t shy about signing brands for the Japanese market, and almost monthly announces a new tie up in areas as diverse as sports and high end jewellery. Its latest deals range from designer fashions to outdoor shoes but, whatever the category, all are part of plans to greatly increase profits for the trading firm in the next few years.

NTT launches e-commerce mall
NTT Plala, the telecom giant’s internet service provider arm, has launched a smartphone e-commerce portal. Although NTT Docomo has its own mobile e-commerce services such as D Shopping, NTT Plala is offering a different take on e-commerce by creating what it calls a catalogue market, with Aeon and Tokyu Hands already on board.

Lawson enters supermarket sector
Lawson has been building up its fresh food business for the past five years, acquiring discount supermarket chain Shop 99 and turning it into Lawson 100, buying farms, and rolling out fresh foods in its convenience store business. In February it took the next step, announcing it would enter the mini-supermarket business proper, taking on Aeon and other supermarket operators directly.

Matsumotokiyoshi looking for M&A
Matsumotokiyoshi sits at the head of the drugstore sector, the biggest chain in Tokyo and one of the most aggressive retail banners of any format. It has struggled to expand into the regions, but Matsukiyo is setting aside more cash for acquisitions.

More station SCs, large and small
Railway operators continue to accumulate more share of retail sales, with a welcome impact on their bottom line. As well as upgrades to existing buildings, making stations much more attractive places to shop and dine, railway operators and partner developers like Aeon are building more station shopping centres every year with wide variation in SC size, from large malls to the tiniest metro corridor.

Daiwa House: logistics innovator
If you need logistics services for e-commerce or are looking for store construction, Daiwa House may have the solution. It is about to break ¥120 billion in sales from its logistics business, offering multi-tenant logistics facilities ideal for SMEs and especially for anyone selling online. It is also a major, if low profile, SC developer and operator with leasable space reportedly rivalling even Aeon.

Retail Data: Department store tourist sales double

News in Brief
Old Navy to open 25 stores in 2014
Fast Retailing eyeing J Crew
IKEA to double sales by 2020
Sazaby signs Raquel Allegra
Bow & Arrows: a new label from United Arrows
Jewellery market booms in 2013 but WILL slow in 2014
UK brand French Sole to open
Sogo & Seibu: new brand for senior couples
Takashimaya to open in Aeon Okayama
Laura Ashley to expand home stores
Daiei Tachikawa closes after 43 years
Beer sales booming
Mitsukoshi changes its old bags
Ito-Yokado opens first store in China for three years
Yahoo ties with Zozo, 109 and Parco on search
Daiei to close marche chain, write off DEBT
F.Clio opens Marunouchi store
Amazon invests in merchants
Heart Market buys Clean
Lula Magazine to launch in Japan
Rakuten pressured to stop scams
Urban Research Meiji Dori flagship planned

JapanConsuming Headlines: February 2014

February 6, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now Focus: Consumption Tax to hit while incomes still falling Retailers are bracing themselves for consumer reaction to the increase in Consumption Tax. Retailers may be worried, but some consumers are looking at a serious change to their spending patterns if incomes don’t increase soon. Although the last rise in 1997 […]

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JapanConsuming: Headlines January 2014

January 8, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now Focus: Specialty apparel FY2012: gaining further ground The results for specialty apparel retailing in FY2012 were even better than 2011, reflecting higher spending on premium fashions as well as a general uplift in consumer demand. The top specialty apparel retailers outperformed the market, averaging 9.1% growth and now account for […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines: December 2013

December 5, 2013

Click here to Subscribe Now Focus: Solid growth for SCs as new build rate rises again Shopping centres had a solid year in 2012 with the top 100 seeing sales rise 2.2% thanks to higher spending on fashions, food and lifestyle goods. The largest SCs are growing much quicker than the sector as a whole, […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines: November 2013

November 11, 2013

Click here to Subscribe Now Convenience stores: new models in fight to the finish The convenience store sector is without doubt the most successful in the Japanese retail industry. The leading chains, Seven Eleven, Lawson and Familymart, are also some of the best performing retailers in the world and responsible for a good proportion of […]

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JapanConsuming Headlines: October 2013

October 7, 2013

Click here to Subscribe Now Focus: Apparel Retailing FY2012: leading from the top Apparel sales rose 0.4% in FY2012 but the top 100 averaged growth of 5.2%, a strong result, helping the top 100 garner more than 60% share of the apparel market. Specialty chains continued to deliver most of the growth, but e-commerce businesses […]

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