JapanConsuming Headlines: June 2015

by admin on June 5, 2015

JapanConsuming June 2015

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FOCUS: Sogo Shosha in fashion: Japanese trading companies adapt to changing fashion market
The big Japanese trading companies are key conduits in domestic apparel and fashion distribution. They supply yarn, buttons and other parts, clothing, accessories and footwear to most of the high street retailers, while also acting as distributors for hundreds of overseas brands. Their role is changing, however, as more foreign brands operate directly in Japan and more of the bigger Japanese retailers source direct from overseas. Not to be outdone, trading firms are diversifying OEM services to support the next generation of fast growing retailers, buying retailers themselves, signing yet more up and coming brands from overseas, while also buying outright those they don’t want to lose, and investing in e-commerce at home and across Asia. Their influence looks set to strengthen not weaken.

Yamato launches e-commerce solution, challenges Amazon
Yamato will launch an e-commerce package for retailers this month, leveraging its vast logistics base. The new service brings competition for Amazon and Seven & I, with rapid fulfilment to customers and backend support, while crucially helping Rakuten and other portals solve their problems with patchy merchant deliveries. Small merchants will even be able to offer same day delivery in key parts of the country.

Editorial: The power behind major brands

Isetan-Mitsukoshi to relaunch in Europe, open more stores in Japan
The amount of copy devoted to Isetan-Mitsukoshi in recent months is the result of the pace of change and innovation at the formerly dowdy department store group. As well as small stores and services like travel and health clinics, the group’s latest ideas emphasise its determination to reach out to customers wherever they are. This includes crowdfunding new projects, new stores in Europe, more stores at home and more online marketing.

Nisshinbo acquires Tokyo Shirts
Business shirts are a commodity product usually sold either within Japan’s Big 4 suits retailers or at department stores. In the last decade a few specialty chains have begun to wrest control of distribution from manufacturer wholesalers. Recognising this, one of Japan’s biggest materials businesses, Nisshinbo, sold its own shirt brand last year and has just replaced it with leading shirts retailer Tokyo Shirts, which is itself beginning to target the higher end of the market.

LGBT market finally out in the open
Japan has always been accepting of the LGBT community, although, as in the West, the more conservative avoid any public debate. A more liberal society and greater internationalisation in general mean more and more companies are openly targeting this market, which a recent report suggests has a value of close to ¥6 trillion.

Renting bags gains traction
Most women want to buy luxury bags, but there’s also the option to rent them for short periods. While this might look like bad news for bag brands since it means fewer are sold, it actually expands the market for bags designed for special occasions, times when a new purchase can’t quite be justified for the majority of consumers. A new service called Laxus even offers unlimited bag rentals all for a flat monthly subscription fee of ¥6,800 for those who prefer never to buy at all.

United Arrows: under pressure
United Arrows posted higher sales in FY2014, but it is suffering from falling profits and its core chains are experiencing declining footfall, down 10% last year on a same store basis. Management admits to problems with merchandise, but there is a growing concern that the brand is also losing its cachet after several years of experimental brand extensions and odd store locations.

H2O to invest ¥60 bn through 2017
H2O is a powerhouse in Kansai and its investment programme for the next decade looks set to confirm its dominance in key cities from Osaka down to Fukuoka in Kyushu.

Yamada Denki closes 49 stores
Yamada Denki remains one of Japan’s most aggressive and innovative retailers. It is, however, fighting a losing battle as the market around it contracts and consumers find cheaper options online. Last month it simultaneously closed 1% of its entire chain and sold a 5% share in the business to Softbank, the latter a defensive move to stave off speculative hedge funds.

H&M opens 50th store, on track to hit 120 stores by 2020
H&M is proving to be one of the fastest growing overseas apparel retailers ever in Japan. It now plans to open more small stores in city centres. Once it has worked out issues with its other chains here, these plans could make it one of the top 10 specialty apparel retailers in Japan in the next five years.

Conbini coffee hits 1.9 billion cups
Japanese consumers have fallen in love with convenience store coffee and are drinking it by the litre. This is the latest example that proves how well convenience stores understand their market and the opportunities that exist if suppliers can bring the right product to the table. No other sales channel is as powerful as convenience stores in the food sector.

Urban Research to break ¥50bn
Urban Research used to be a dyed in the wool select shop, but in the last few years it has begun to diversify into suburban SC retailing, and last year launched a new truly mass market chain called Sense of Place. It has seen sales rise from just ¥3 billion in 2001 to ¥46 billion in FY2014, up 26% on FY2013, and is projecting an increase to ¥54 billion this year.

Retail Data: Tourism surges 43%, 221% at department stores

News in Brief
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf opens first Japanese branch
Kadokawa becomes first publisher to work directly with Amazon
Consumer prices remain stubbornly resistant to inflation
Muji’s new CEO aims to expand in China
A new supermarket is born: USMH
@Cosme running the cosmetics floor in Yamada Denki
Tokyo Metro becomes a Lawson convenience chain franchise
New Atre annex due in Ebisu in 2016
Consumption tax to be applied to cross-border e-commerce
Uniqlo to sell yukatas globally
Uhr-Kraft watches opens by appointment store in Omotesando
Light up your legs
Otsuka Kagu announces a ¥740 million loss in 1Q2015
LINE opens flash sale site
Mitsui breaks ground on massive Hibiya redevelopment
Japan Post to open 40 tenant SC at Nagoya Station in 2016
Itochu enters e-commerce tie up with Citic
Itochu signs New Zealand womenswear brand.
Toys ‘R’ Us to open 20 Miki House corners
Yogibo bean bags come to Japan

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

Adastria, 15
Aeon, 3, 5-6, 15
Ameba, 4
Anteprima, 15 Anthropologie, 11
Aoki, 4
Apple, 8
ASF, 15
Batoner, 3
Bear USA, 12
Best Denki, 8
Biscaye Group, 14
Blomster Sense of Place, 11 Bramhope, 15
Brick House SPA, 4 Burberry, 12
Camicia Sartoria, 4
Cariru, 6
Chanel, 6
Charlies Juices, 11
Charoen Pokphand Group, 10
Choya, 4
Chrome Hearts, 7
Citic, 10
Coach, 6
Coca-Cola, 11
Coen, 7
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 3 Coronet, 11-12
Credit Saison, 7
Cyber Agent, 4
Daido, 11
Decks Tokyo Beach, 11 Dentsu, 5-6
DHC, 6
Doutor, 10
Dunhill, 12
Edion, 9
Edwin, 14
Effissimo Capital Manage- ment, 9
ES Corporation, 6 Familymart, 1, 10-11 Fast Retailing, 5, 8, 15 Fukusuke, 14
Gap Japan, 6 Georgia, 11 GinDaco, 3 Giorgio Armani, 12
Glico, 11
Green Label Relaxing, 7 Greenbar, 11
H2O Retailing, 8
Hanae Mori, 14
Hanshin Department Store, 8 Happo-en, 5
Hermes, 6
Hotland, 3
IKEA, 5
Index, 2, 4
Isetan Mirror, 3
Isetan Salone, 3
Itochu Shoji, 11-12, 15 Izumiya, 8
Japan Post, 1, 10
Java Holdings, 14
Joix, 12
JR East, 3-4, 7
JR West, 6
Jupiter TV Shopping, 15 Kadokawa, 3-4
Karen Walker, 11
Kasumi, 5
Kayac, 9
Kitte, 10
Labi Amenity, 6
Laxus, 6
Le Sportsac, 12, 14 Leilian, 14
Letibee, 5
LINE, 3, 5, 7-9, 11-12 Look, 3, 5-8, 12
Louis Vuitton, 6 Mackintosh, 14
Makuake, 4, 8
Marubeni, 5, 12
Maruetsu, 5
Maxvalu, 5
MI Plaza, 3
Miki House, 11
Mitsubishi Shoji, 11-12, 14 Mitsui Bussan, 12 Mitsukoshi Ginza, 3 Monkey Time, 7
Monki, 10
Muji, 4-5
Natural Lawson, 7 NewDays, 3
Nijiro Diversity, 6
Nisshinbo, 1, 4 Orangina, 11
Orb, 6
Orihica, 4
Otsuka Kagu, 9
Outdoor Products, 12, 15 Paul Smith, 12
Paul Stuart, 12, 14 Penfield, 12 Prada, 6
Rakuten, 1
Saha Group, 15
Seijo Ishii, 7
Sense of Place, 11 Seven Eleven, 6, 10-11 Shirts Kamakura, 4 Shop Global, 15 Starbucks, 3, 10 Subaru, 5
Sumitomo Shoji, 12, 15 Suntory, 11 Takarazuka, 6
Tatras, 14
Tiny Garden Kitchen, 11 Tohan, 4
Toho Cinemas, 10 Tokyo Metro, 6
Tokyu Plaza, 3
Toray Diplomode, 12 Toyoshima, 14
Toyota Tsusho, 12, 14 Uhr-Kraft, 8
Uniqlo, 8
United Supermarket Hold- ings, 5
Urban Research, 1, 11, 15 Valentino, 12
Webshark, 11
Yagi, 12, 14
Yagi Tsusho, 12, 14 Yahoo, 1, 3
Yamada Denki, 1, 6, 8-9 Yamato Transport, 1 Yogibo, 11
Zara, 4

JapanConsuming Headlines: May 2015

by admin on May 6, 2015

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FOCUS: 2014 Calendar Year Results: Leading chains make progress in difficult year
Calendar year results for the three big format sectors, department stores, GMS and supermarket chains, and convenience stores, provide a quick hint of what to expect from results at the end of the financial year. Although 2014 was a difficult year given the increase in prices from tax hikes and higher cost imports, on the whole the better retailers performed remarkably well. Consolidation at the top is set to continue.

Editorial: E-commerce: we’ve seen the future

Isetan opens first Salone, plans 10 stores by 2018
Small format retailing is Isetan-Mitsukoshi’s way out of the strictures of the department store market. Until now its boutiques have been in airports and outlet malls. Last month it opened Isetan Salone, the first in a chain of at least 10 upscale select shops. It also opened more middle market stores in Osaka that could morph into competitors for the likes of Beams and United Arrows.

Aeon taking axe to private brands
For some analysts Aeon Group’s enduring inability to turn its huge scale into profits is unforgiveable. The sense that it has hit make or break with its GMS chain was confirmed last month with news of far reaching strategic changes, some of which represent a reversal of 10 years of policy. While some of the changes being implemented would seem to make sense in the short-term, they don’t necessarily mean Aeon is on the right track.

Air wardrobes: sharing clothes and fashion tips online
The mountains of little used clothing and accessories piling up in the back of closets across Japan is suddenly an area ripe for exploration in the new online sharing boom. A new start up aims to help people clean-up, while another is offering rental services based on expert advice from stylists. There is even a crowd-sourced advisory service helping you find fresh ideas on outfits. All offer new marketing opportunities for fashion and lifestyle brands.

Outlet malls continue to expand
Outlet Malls continue to expand in Japan and Mitsui and Mitsubishi lead the way with some 80% of the market. The malls are now so popular and generate such traffic, both from domestic customers and tourists, that more and more brands are opening outlet stores with much wider strategic intent than just to sell off old stock.

J Front acquires stake in Senshukai to build omnichannel platform
Omnichannel retailing seems to be the holy grail for retailing these days. Seven & I catalysed the strategy when it bought Nissen, aiming to make it the centre of an omnichannel retail empire, and many other major retailers are looking to incorporate e-commerce as part of a multi-channel strategy too. Now J Front has followed suit, buying a large stake in Senshukai. This looks like being a better deal than the purchase of Nissen by Seven & I.

80% of retailers expecting increased profits in FY2015
While FY2014 was a complicated year for many retailers, the majority of publicly traded firms are optimistic about the next 12 months. Most leading retailers are expecting to report improved profits. Such confident forecasts reflect the fact that sales at the best retailers remain strong despite issues with the consumer economy as a whole, and further demonstrates just how capable some retail businesses have become.

Fashion site Fifth hits ¥1.4 billion in sales in 2nd year
Fifth is an online-only, fast fashion store with strong visuals. It is one of the more successful new e-commerce ventures, expecting to grow to sales of ¥10 billion within a few years. It also plans to sell its expertise to other fashion businesses needing help online.

Lawson ties with Sagawa to compete with Seven & I and Amazon
Lawson and Sagawa are launching a new joint venture next month that will eventually see Sagawa take over delivery services for 12,000 Lawson stores across the country. Even more significant, Sagawa will use the stores as small depots for its existing parcel delivery service, as well as delivering orders from stores direct to customers’ doors. This will soon extend to include a whole range of retailers and brands that Lawson is now signing up in a bid to take some of the online business from the likes of Seven & I and Amazon.

Fast Retailing to link up 3,000 stores globally through e-commerce
Fast Retailing has announced a new plan to boost online sales and make better use of IT in its stores. It expects to build new systems that allow sharing of online purchase data with store staff in the hope of providing better in-store services. The initiative will mean a significant increase in IT hires and the new system will roll out to some 3,000 stores globally.

Healthcare at convenience stores
Convenience stores are determined to become the hub of Japanese life, both selling essential goods but also a vast range of services, as well as becoming the local depots for online orders. The latest idea is to turn your local conbini into a quasi medical clinic, offering basic medical tests and products, particularly those targeting the senior market.

News in Brief
Fred Segal opens in Log Road SC in Daikanyama
Bamford comes to Japan
Isetan-Mitsukoshi opens store in Aeon Laketown
JINS opens San Francisco flagship
Actus and Zara Home bring home fashions to Futako Tamagawa
Pal plans 50 stores for Salut! low price accessories chain
Amazon sells resort weddings
Sazaby signs US brand Equipment
Sanuk sets up in Japan
Dyson chooses Tokyo for first ever store
Inditex to open 15 stores in Japan in 2015
Keio plans 10 small format stores
KDDI buys Luxa
Randa hits 50 shoe stores
Tutuanna stores in China to outnumber Japan chain
Anders: a shop window to the world for Japan’s designers
Senshukai targets women in 30s and 50s with new catalogues
Lawson opens in Philippines
Toys ‘R’ Us opens Aprica and Combi baby buggy corners
Mitsui outlines plans for Osaka’s biggest SC
Amu Plaza Kagoshima posts record sales again
Asahi Shimbun plans new shopping in Ginza in 2017
Theme parks have a storming 2014

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

A de Vivre, 9
Actus, 4
Aeon, 1, 3-4, 6, 8, 10, 15
Aeon Laketown, 3
Ain Pharmaciez, 11
Air Closet, 5
Andaman, 5
Anders, 9
Aprica, 10
Aquagirl, 5
Bamford, 3
Baycrews, 1
Beams, 1, 6
Belle Maison, 6
Belle Neige, 7
Benebis, 7
Bershka, 7
Blue Bottle Coffee, 3
Bonsai Garage, 5
Care Lawson, 11
Circle K Sunkus, 8
Creema, 9
Daimaru-Matsuzakaya, 6-7
Daiwa House Kogyo, 10
Daylesford Organic Farmshops, 3
Dears Brain, 7
Deckers Japan, 6
DeNA, 8
Dyson, 6-7
Edion, 11
Estnation, 1, 5
Etsy, 9
Familymart, 8, 10-11
Fendi, 1
Fred Segal, 3
Fuji, 3, 15
Fujikyu Highland, 11
Gap, 11, 15
GFK Japan, 7
H2O Retailing, 14
Heiwado, 15
Huis Ten Bosch, 11
Inageya, 15
Inditex, 7, 11
Isetan Salone, 1
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 1, 3, 8, 14-15
Ito-Yokado, 4, 15
Izumi, 15
Izumiya, 15
J. B. Co, 8
J Brand, 11
J Front Retailing, 2, 6
JINS, 4
JR Kyushu, 11
Kaigo Lawson, 11
Keio Department Store, 7
Kikkoman, 4
Kintetsu, 13-15
Lalaport, 5, 7, 11
Life, 11, 15
Log Road SC, 3
Look, 2, 5, 13, 15
Lucca Llena, 9
Lucua, 1
Mackintosh, 6
Mark Styler, 3
Maruetsu, 15
Maruhiro Department, 8
Marui, 14
Matsuya, 13-14
Megmilk, 7
MI Plaza, 1, 3, 8
Ministop, 10
Mitsubishi-Simon, 6
Mitsui Real Estate, 6
Mitsukoshi Ginza, 14
Mobacolle, 7
Nifrel, 10
Nissen, 6-7
Odakyu, 14
Okinawa Rycom, 6
Old Navy, 11
Omnis, 5
Pal Group, 5
Parco, 7
Rakuten, 10
Randa Cleporte, 8
Restir, 1, 5
Sagawa Kyubin, 2, 9
Salut!, 5
Sanuk, 6
Sazaby League, 6
Seibu, 13-14
Seven Eleven, 2, 8-11
Seven Gold, 4
Seven Premium, 4
SG Holdings, 9
Shake Shack, 6
Sofuol, 7
Spring Valley Brewery, 3
Stradivarius, 7
Sustina, 5
Takashimaya, 8, 13-14
Tartine Bakery, 3
Tobu Ikebukuro, 13
Tokyo Disneyland, 6
Tokyo Midtown, 1, 3
TopValu, 3-4
Topvalu Black Label, 4
Traditional Weatherwear, 6
Tutuanna, 9
Union Square, 4
Uniqlo, 10-11
United Arrows, 1
Universal Studios Japan, 11
Uny, 15
Valentino, 1
Vivienne Tam, 6
Wis Net, 11
Yamato, 9
Yukijirushi Megmilk, 7
Zara, 4, 7
Zara Home, 4, 7

JapanConsuming Headlines: April 2015

by admin on April 8, 2015

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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

JC1502

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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

January 8, 2015

All brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Click here to Subscribe Now 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, […]

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JapanConsuming: Headlines December 2014

December 6, 2014

Click here for all brands & companies covered in JapanConsuming this month Click here to Subscribe Now 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 […]

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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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