JapanConsuming Headlines: January 2015

by Roy Larke 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.

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 Roy Larke 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
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

by Roy Larke on November 4, 2014

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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 already account for some 75% of the entire market. With saturation point reached, the sector is now looking to the next step, with all three of the largest chains trying out new strategies for the day, very soon, when adding yet another 1,000 stores a year simply isn’t viable. As part of this, Seven Eleven could become the hub for sales of everything from nappies to high end fashions.

Isetan-Mitsukoshi to expand import brand business
As part of its diversification drive, Isetan-Mitsukoshi plans to turn its small import business, Club 21 Japan, into a significant player in overseas brand distribution. This will feed both its own department store sales floors, as well as its up coming select shop chain. At the same time the influence of Isetan Shinjuku in fashion marketing will provide a powerful launchpad for any new brands it signs.

Editorial: Aeon offers a new age?

Cross Company opens fairtrade fashion chain, targeting ¥1 trillion globally
When a retailer launches a new chain and says it will have sales of more than ¥1 trillion one day, suppliers and competitors take notice- although such extreme targets are a little too common among leading apparel chains these days. But when that company has a record as the fastest growing fashion retailer since 2000, there is a chance the target may turn out to be realistic. Then when the same chain says it will only sell fairtrade and sustainably sourced merchandise, it becomes intriguing.

Seiyu to upgrade 50 stores, close 30
Walmart has been operating Seiyu for 14 years, and although estimated sales place Seiyu well down the rankings compared to its heyday, there are growing signs of confidence. Seiyu is looking to redesign more of its existing stores, further improving what is one of the best fresh produce operations in the country. It will also close some 30 poor performing stores, another sign that it is confident in growing volumes in other ways.

USM Holdings: Aeon’s new base for a national supermarket chain
Aeon has taken the next step towards its goal of consolidating the supermarket sector, beginning with the key market of Kanto. The retailer is tying with Marubeni to establish USM Holdings in March 2015, which in turn will take over ownership of Maruetsu, Kasumi and Maxvalu Kanto, all major Kanto supermarket chains. Together the operation will be larger than any other supermarket chain in the country, but this is just the first step. It will then start canvasing for other supermarkets to build a nationwide chain.

Opportunities in online fashion marketing proliferate
The online fashion space continues to develop and diversify offering more opportunities for fashion brands and retailers to not only reach new consumers, but to do so in an ever more targeted way.

H&M to launch Cos this month
H&M will bring a fourth chain, Cos, to Japan this month. Cos is a completely different target market from H&M, Weekday and Monki, however, with higher price points and a combination of quality design and yet still accessible prices that could spell trouble for department store brands from Japanese apparel firms.

Muji gaining from weak Yen
Muji, perhaps Japan’s most prominent retail brand globally, is reporting a major boost from overseas income. Like so many of its counterparts, Muji is a brand that relies on offshore production for much of its merchandise range, and the weakened Yen has hit its domestic profitability. Overall, however, consolidated operating profit for 2Q2014 was up 26% on last year, entirely down to ever improving, and expanding, performance overseas.

Consumption Tax widens supermarket performance gap
The effect of the April Consumption Tax increase has been far milder than many expected, but it has still hit more unprepared and intransigent retailers. This is most evident in the supermarket sector, where many chains survive on the thinnest of margins. While in most regions chains have indeed struggled as consumers worry over prices and suppliers pass on cost increases, in Kanto some have done surprisingly well and overall like for like sales have increased as a result.

Mash Style Lab: fastest growing fashion retailer slows down
Mash Holdings has been the fastest growing fashion retailer for the last two years, and has ambitious plans to expand further both at home and overseas. However, while it will double store openings this financial year, it expects sales to rise just 20%, not bad, but half the growth rates of 2012 and 2013.

Aeon’s drugstore revolution continues
Aeon has begun full absorption of its Welcia Holdings affiliate, the start of plans to shake up drugstore retailing, with Welcia and three other major drugstore chains merged by the middle of 2015. This will create the largest single chain in the country, overtaking Matsumotokiyoshi, and put Aeon in a position to make even further gains through increasing buying power and more uniform branding, impacting the cosmetics, health, household goods and drugs markets significantly.

Takashimaya Tamagawa: another refit
Takashimaya Tamagawa has been one of the most successful department stores over the last two decades, and continues to hold its own despite a wealth of new competition in the area around Futako Tamagawa. It continues to update its sales floors, introducing new tenants and directly managed space to keep the locals keen. No wonder its management is being tasked with development of Takashimaya’s other principle stores.

Fast Retailing upgrades e-commerce
With retailers now firmly in control of their supply chains, and e-commerce growing quicker than any other sales channel, the major brands are just beginning to initiate moves to take better control over logistics functions too. Last month Fast Retailing completed a deal with Daiwa House aimed at improving distribution both at home and overseas.

Retail Data: Department store sales flat in September

News in Brief
Gap to open 11 Old Navy stores this year
Tourists spending 40% more this year
Charlie’s juices launch in Japan
Treasure Factory acquires Brand Collect
Survey suggests wives should stay at home
Sanrio launches first original Mister Men character
Takashimaya to open in Thailand
Tokyu to open 30,000 sqm Kawasaki SC in 2016
New SC to be test bed for Seven & I specialty stores
Poiray relaunches in Japan and France
Seven Eleven to revamp takeaway coffee offer
Machida reborn
Locondo attracts more investment
Nishi Nippon expands Incube variety chain
Department stores roll out more small format ideas
Samsonite brings Hartmann to Japan
ABC Mart forges ahead with 15% growth in 1H2014
Lalaport confirms Tachikawa opening in late 2015
Tiffany opens first stand alone store in five years
Four new stores for Charles & Keith

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

A-Coop, 14
ABC Mart, 10
Aeon Group, 10
Aeon Hapicom, 10
Akachan Honpo, 6, 15
Alexander Wang, 1
Amazon, 11, 15116
Anna Sui, 1
Aoi, 1
Asahi Beverages, 15
Bals, 15
Barneys, 15
Belc, 5
Black Barrett, 1
CFS Corporation, 10
Chiyoda, 10
Circle K Sunkus, 14116
Cocokara Fine, 10
Cos, 1, 7
Cosme Kitchen, 9
Cross Company, 1, 314
CyberAgent, 6
Daichi Keihin, 6
Daiei, 5
Daiwa House, 11
DeNA, 6
Desk My Style, 9
Diver City, 3
Doubleday, 9
E Hyphen World Gallery, 3
Earth, Music & Ecology, 314
Ecos, 8
Familymart, 4, 8, 13116
Fast Retailing, 1, 11
FrancFranc, 6
Fray I. D., 9
Fujitsu, 3
FurFur, 9
G-Foot, 10
Galloria, 6
Gap Japan, 3
Gelato Pique, 9
Goodday Park, 6
Grandtree Musashi, 9
Hands Select, 9
Hankyu, 9, 14
Hartmann, 10
Hello Kitty, 5
HEP Five, 4
Iemo, 6
Inageya, 5
Incube, 9
Inditex, 11
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 1, 11
Ito-Yokado, 4, 6
Jafco, 8
Kasumi, 5, 8
Keita Murayama, 1
Kent, 6
Kodansha, 6
Koe, 314
Komeri *****
Lalaport, 4, 10111
Lawson, 4, 8, 13116
Lawson Mart, 8, 14
Life, 415, 8
Lily Brown, 9
Little Miss Hug, 5
Locondo, 8
Loft, 6, 15
Look, 1, 4, 7, 9110, 13, 16
Mammina, 1
Mango, 4
Marubeni, 5
Maruetsu, 415, 8
Maruetsu Petit, 8
Mash Holdings, 9
Matsumotokiyoshi, 10
Maxvalu Chubu, 9
Maxvalu Kanto, 5
Mery, 6
Mila Owen, 9
Ministop, 15116
Misaki Shoji, 1
Mister Men, 5
Muji, 1, 7
Mulberry, 1
Neil Barrett, 1
Nishi Nipppon Rail, 9
Odakyu, 9111
Okuwa, 819
Old Navy, 3
Onward Holdings, 11
Ozaki, 8
Parco, 9
Peroli, 6
Plaza, 6, 9
Poiray, 7
Proenza Scouler, 1
Samsonite, 10
Sanki Shoji, 1, 7
Sanrio, 5
Sanyo Shokai, 7
Sazaby League, 7
Seibu, 6, 15
Seicomart, 14
Seijo Ishii, 14
Seiyu, 1, 4, 8
Seven Eleven, 314, 718, 13116
Seven Net Shopping, 15
Siam Takashimaya, 5
Snidel, 9
Sogo Seibu, 15
Starbucks, 7
Start Today, 6, 11
Sugi Holdings, 10
Summit, 8
Sundrug, 10
Sunnymart, 14
Takashimaya, 1, 5, 11
Three F, 14115
Tiffany, 11
Tohan, 15
Tokyo Gas, 8
Tokyu Hands, 9
Topvalu, 15
Toshin Kaihatsu, 5, 11
Tower Records, 6
Treasure Factory, 4
Tsuruha Holdings, 10
Uniqlo, 11
Uny, 16
USM Holdings, 5, 8
Vasily, 6
Vivi, 6
Walmart, 4
Wear, 3, 6
Welcia Holdings, 10
Yagi Tsusho, 1
Yamada Denki, 6
Yaoko, 8
Zennisshoku, 5
Zozotown, 6

JapanConsuming Headlines: October 2014

by Roy Larke on October 6, 2014


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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 – even at department stores. Displaying its boundless dynamism, the apparel industry once again included retailers achieving exceptional sales growth, with no fewer than four firms up more than 40% and 16 more than 10%. With little room for price competition and much of the nation replete with apparel retailing, all agree the challenge now is to improve product and marketing, and to create chains that stand out from the crowd.

RIP: Aeon to delete Daiei
Aeon will shortly make Daiei a wholly owned subsidiary and delist the company’s stock. This means that Japan’s biggest retailer from 1972 to 2000 will finally meet its end – a fate it had previously avoided thanks to government support and funding. The simultaneous confirmation that Aeon will also wipe out the Daiei brand has saddened many in the industry, but Japanese retailing has changed to the point that few will have been surprised.

Editorial: Unassailable Aeon

Aeon’s station mall model to launch in Okayama
Aeon’s SC expansion has been unprecedented in the last 10 years, so much so that new SCs pass in a blur. Aeon makes many claims for new malls, with each one presented as the latest, mould-breaking new model, but in Okayama in December Aeon will genuinely open one of its most important SCs in years. It is a model for its planned takeover of station retailing across the country, making Aeon an ever more important partner for international and domestic brands and retailers in food, fashion, and the home.

Brunello Cucinelli Japan expands
Luxury brand Brunello Cucinell is now in charge of its own distribution in Japan. Sales are up and much needed investment in upgrading department store concessions will continue this year culminating in the opening of a flagship in Ginza in Autumn 2015.

Isetan-Mitsukoshi: small store expansion continues, emphasis on clearer targets
Isetan-Mitsukoshi continues to take direct control of parts of its sales floors and expand its new network of small format, specialty retail stores. In its department stores, new sales areas are being turned into self-managed concessions and mini shopping centres in order to clarify the positioning of each branch to better suit local traffic. The latest areas include a select shop for the over 60s in Nihonbashi and a mini SC for working women in Kyushu. Meanwhile, specialty chain MI Plaza will see a significant boost to store numbers. All of this means opportunities for overseas brands.

Start Today cancels free shipping
Start Today introduced free shipping in 2012 in the face of growing competition from Amazon, which had already lured some of its key merchants like United Arrows to its mall. The service was always going to be expensive for a business that relies on the consignment model, and last month it capitulated, introducing charges again for low value shipments. Instead, however, it is offering free shipping for same day delivery around Tokyo, the first time an online store has introduced such a service.

Shosha invest in e-commerce
The rapid growth in e-commerce is leading to huge demand for state of the art distribution facilities and support. With Amazon Japan leading from the front, all the major players, and even the smaller ones, are now expected to provide short lead times at very low cost to the final customer, but few have the volume to justify their own, large DCs, creating a growing market for logistics providers. Enter the four big trading houses.

Lawson to acquire Seijo Ishii
Lawson will add its second major acquisition for the year this month, taking over leading upscale supermarket chain Seijo Ishii. It is no surprise that Mitsubishi’s convenience store subsidiary should want to add another supermarket banner to its portfolio, although Isetan-Mitsukoshi is disappointed to have been overlooked.

Working population declines by 4 million in 5 years
Depopulation in Japan often seems like old news, but the real consequences are only now beginning to be fully understood. Already medium sized cities in the outer regions, especially in the north, are being hit by population decline so rapid that there’s no longer enough money to sustain even some basic services, and it is about to get worse. Depopulation does not just mean fewer consumers, it also means higher local taxes, further reducing consumers’ capacity to spend on non-essential items. For overseas firms working in Japan it’s increasingly important to understand not only where the problem areas will be, but equally where opportunities will arise in a small number of growing municipalities.

Sazaby sells Starbucks stake
Sazaby is selling its majority stake in Starbucks, a business that transformed Sazaby’s turnover, although it still managed to retain its identity as a quirky fashion to interiors business. By selling off Starbucks Japan, it can return to its roots, but still with plenty of potential growth from chains such as Flying Tiger. It will add more overseas brands, and with its bulging coffers and record of past successes, would make a great partner.

Familymart signing more cross-retail deals
With Seven Eleven and Lawson adding around 1,000 new stores a year, and Lawson rapidly diversifying out of just convenience store retailing, number three chain Familymart is fighting to keep pace. To make up for this it is now looking at joint venture tie-ups to allow it to expand its brand and supply chain more widely. Will this be enough to keep it in the game?

Distribution industry offers full-time contracts amid staffing crisis
The distribution industry is one of the biggest employers of part-time labour, relying on flexible, low paid people to run stores and supply centres. The problem is that there are fewer and fewer people around to do these largely mundane jobs – many young people see working in restaurants as far more fun. Now companies are looking for solutions to the short-fall by offering later retirement and the chance to jump from part-time to permanent contracts.

Retail Data: Department Stores steady, down just 0.3%

News in Brief
Metrocity opens pop up store in Takashimaya
Yagi Tsusho signs Helen Kaminski and Lorena Antoniazzi
Singapore’s Croesus expands in Japan
Itochu Shoji signs Casabella
Kintetsu downgrades profit forecasts as Abeno Harukas flops
Post Office renews store concepts, move towards retailing
Uniqlo to double childrenswear sales
Ginza6 begins tenant selection
Household financial assets rise as cautious consumers save
Ikebukuro gets new SC
Duty free sales up 30% at Takashimaya and 50% at Tokyu
Ageless fashion for mothers and daughters
Sogo trials virtual fitting rooms
JR East renovates Mitaka Station SC
Bic introduces free wifi for tourists
Seiyu announces price guarantee for veggies
Import brand market up 20%
Aeon to acquire Red Cabbage
Seven & I joins with Fancl for new PB
Muji to enter India
World plans more accessory and home stores

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

A-Coop, 10
Abeno Harukas, 4
Adastria Holdings, 13
Aeon, 1,2, 7,8, 10,11, 13, 15
Aeon Mall, 3
Amazon Japan, 7
Aoki Holdings, 15
Athena New York Girl, 5
Atmos, 7
Atre Vie, 8
Bape Kids, 5
Beams, 5
Berluti, 6
Bic Camera, 9
Big A, 1
Brunello Cucinelli, 4
Casabella, 4
Charles & Keith, 4
Ciaopanic, 4
Circle K Sunkus, 10
Cox, 15,16
Credit Saison, 10
Croesus Retail Trust, 3
Cross Company, 3, 15,16
Dila, 9
Disney, 6
Doshisha, 4
Dunoon, 4
Egoist, 16
Espritmur, 15
F. T., 15
Familymart, 10
Familymart A-Coop, 10
Fancl, 10
Fast Retailing, 5, 11
Fendi, 6
Flying Tiger, 9
Food Maison, 3,4
Forever 21, 13
Fray I. D., 13
Freek’s Store, 4
Fukulog, 6
Gelato Pique, 13
Global Work, 15
Grameen, 11
GU, 13, 16
Hakuhodo, 7
Havaianas, 4
Helen Kaminski, 3
Hello Kitty, 6
HMV, 8
Honeys, 16
Inditex, 13
Isetan, 5, 7
Ito-Yokado, 11, 13, 15
Itochu Shoji, 4
Izumiya, 10
J Front Retailing, 6
Japan Imagination, 16
Japan Post, 5
JR East, 8
Keikyu, 15
Kintetsu Department Store, 4
Koe, 16
La-Boo, 6
Laura Ashley, 15
Lawson, 718, 10
Le Style Kids, 5
Le Style Lady, 5
Limited Edition, 8
Little Marc Jacobs, 5
Loft, 10
Lorena Antoniazzi, 3
Mac House, 16
Malie, 9
Maruetsu, 1
Marui City, 9
Maruoka Shoji, 16
Mash Holdings, 13, 15, 16
Matsuya, 15
Metrocity, 3
MI Plaza, 2, 5
Mina Perhonen, 5
Mitsui, 7
Mitsukoshi, 5, 7
Muji, 10,11, 15, 16
Mycal, 1
Niko and…, 13
Nissen, 15
OPA, 3
Orihica, 15
Pal, 16
Picard, 2, 4
Printemps Ginza, 9
Queens Isetan, 7
R. Newbold, 4
Rachel Ashwell, 9
Rakuten, 7, 15
Raquel Allegra, 9
Red Cabbage, 10
Reins International, 7
Ryohin Keikaku, 15
Salvatore Ferragamo, 2
Sazaby League, 9
Seibu, 4, 8, 10, 13
Seijo Ishii, 718
Seiyu, 9, 11, 15
Sense of Place, 15
Seven Eleven, 10, 15
Shimamura, 16
Snidel, 3, 13
Sogo, 8, 10, 13
Solaha SC, 5
Starbucks, 9
Start Today, 6, 13, 15
Stella McCartney, 5
Sterne International, 3
Studio Clip, 13, 16
T-point, 10
Taka Q, 15
Takashimaya, 2, 7, 15
Temasek Holdings, 7
Tenmaya Department Store, 3
Tod’s, 2, 3
Tokyo Midtown, 5
Tokyu Hands, 4
Toppan Printing, 8
TopValu, 15
Trinity Arts, 13, 16
Uniqlo, 5, 6, 11, 13, 15, 16
United Arrows, 3, 5, 6, 16
United Cinemas, 8
Urban Research, 4, 8, 15, 16
Wacca Ikebukuro, 7
Walmart, 1
Wear, 5, 6
World, 2, 11, 13
Yagi Tsusho, 3
Yaoko, 7
Zara, 4
Zara Home, 4
Zozotown, 6
Zozoused, 6

JapanConsuming Headlines: September 2014

by Roy Larke on September 6, 2014

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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 to the tax hike, investment in renovation and enlarging of city centre stores – not to mention much better management. Will it last? While the tax hike bonus was clearly temporary – even with another one due next year – there is a sense that the dark decades are over, and department stores have entered a more stable age, a boon for premium overseas brands. Overall the sector will continue to shrink as more stores still need to close or convert to shopping centres, but the leading businesses and stores are in good shape, showing unprecedented levels of innovation and retail marketing.

Buoyant import fashion market spurs new deals and stores
Strong sales at department stores and select shop chains mean demand for premium overseas brands continues unabated. This benefits not only the brands themselves, but also distributors, leading to a resurgence in activity, even among the former dullards of the industry like Toray Diplomode. Others such as Look are going from strength to strength.
Editorial: When dinosaurs return

¥100 Shops enter new era of growth
Although the impact of the April tax increase is now dissipating for many sectors, it has refocused consumers on price. Lower priced retailers in the FMCG and discount sectors have done particularly well. The four major ¥100 Shop discount chains are all looking to expand store numbers rapidly this year.

Wages up for four straight months but incomes fall
Government PR is making much of the fact that wages have risen for four straight months for full time workers. It is making less noise about the 3.2% fall in real incomes. Coupled with the fact that wages are still below the levels of 2010 and much of the increase was due to labour shortages, suggests the lack of real growth in wages and incomes in Japan might become a significant break on consumption and Japan’s medium-term prosperity.

GMS apparel sales shrink further but signs of revival
GMS share of the apparel market continues to shrink, with sales down again last year. There is some glimmer of hope as the top chains expand store merchandise, design better apparel floors, and in many cases, hand over space to specialty tenants, with some even making a profit.

Xebio opens Next flagship
The history of joint ventures and franchises between UK apparel retailers and Japanese partners has not been a happy one on the whole. Oasis, Warehouse and French Connection are just some of the chains which have opened with a bang and then left the market soon after. The UK giant Next is still here after 18 years even though its partner has built a chain of just 15 stores.

Department stores expand own brands and small format retailing
Isetan-Mitsukoshi is leading the charge to diversify into small format retailing and raise the ratio of private brand product in department stores (see Focus, Page 13), but other department store groups are working hard to catch up. Daimaru-Matsuzakaya has just unveiled two shoe brands and Tokyu has created an accessories specialty chain.

Mitsukoshi Ginza to house 3,000 sqm duty free store
Tourism has helped boost city department store revenues by as much as 10-15%, but until now the only real benefit for foreign customers has been the consumption tax rebate – and even that is highly restricted at present. Isetan-Mitsukoshi will go one further next year, opening a dedicated duty-free store that will sell luxury brands free of both consumption tax and import duties. Aeon and Ito-Yokado are introducing tax-free services too.

Aeon to setup SC-based nurseries in 46 prefectures
Aeon is planning to open childcare facilities in each of its 140 SCs across the country, with a target of at least one in each prefecture by 2018. A key aim is to provide extended hour services for its own employees in a bid to help expand the number of female managers, but it will also go some way to offset the chronic shortage of childcare facilities in Japan.

Top wholesalers see sales grow 4% in FY2013 but profit falls for many
Japan’s wholesale sector enjoyed higher sales in 2013. In food and household products, huge wholesalers continue to play a prominent role in the distribution channel, as traditional intermediaries, but even in some cases as budding retailers in their own right. An overall increase in profitability was largely due to the better performance among pharmaceutical suppliers, with both food and apparel wholesalers struggling with costs.

Amazon promoting retailer brands
Amazon Japan has launched a new sub-site selling private label products from 15 major retailers. The site brings together multiple sports, home centre and pet chains as well as drugstores and one supermarket. This is yet another sign of the growing popularity of retailer private brands.

Retail Data: Department store sales fall 2.5% in July

News in Brief
Aoki to introduce iBeacon smartphone service in October
Rakuten to close Play.com
Cross Company launches cosmetics chain
Aeon to open The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Fred Segal flagship due in Daikanyama in 2015
Lawson and Seven Eleven introduce private brand pet foods
@Cosme buys GlossyBox
Isetan-Mitsukoshi Osaka to house Tsutaya
Parco to add new building in Nagoya following Zerogate opening next month
Tokyu Hands opens in Singapore
Venus Fort updated with 35 new tenants
Kenmin Department Store closes
Itochu buys Renfro stake
IKEA aiming for 14 stores by 2020
Aeon opens in Phnom Penh
Samantha Thavasa launches new apparel brand
Big jump in ‘net dependent’ consumers
Consumers “shun” McDonalds
Joyful Honda has poor first year after IPO
Former Sogo chairman passes away
Tohoku sees further supermarket mergers
126 retail bankruptcies in July
Tokyu Department Store to open second Thai property

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

Adelina, 8
Aeon, 1, 4, 6, 11
Akachan Honpo, 16
Alex and Ani, 3
Amazon, 1, 11
American Eagle Outfitters, 6
Aoki Holdings, 3
Aquilano-Rimondi, 3
Arcs Group, 11
Asme Estelle, 8
Bamford, 3
Beauty Trend Japan, 5
Blue Les Copains, 3
Borbonese, 3
Brooklyn Charm, 3
Burnedest Japan, 9
Cainz, 11
Caitac International, 1
Cando, 4
Caravan, 3
Color the Days, 4
Coronet, 1
Costco, 7
Cross Company, 314
Cross Plus, 7
Daiei, 6
Daimaru-Matsuzakaya, 8, 14, 17
Daiso Sangyo, 4
Don Quijote, 4
Eastpak, 1
EspadrilleSW, 7
Espritmur, 6
Faliero Salti, 3
Familymart, 9
Fast Retailing, 7
Felissimo, 7
Fleurs de Rhum, 3
Forever 21, 6
Fred Segal, 4
French Connection, 7
Galloria Prestige, 7
Gant Rugger, 3
GlossyBox, 5
Glow, 6
Grace Continental, 3
Hankyu-Hanshin, 13
Harrods, 2
Honey Bunch, 9
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14
Isetan-Mitsukoshi Holdings, 8
Isetan-Mitsukoshi Osaka, 5
Island, 3
Italian, 1, 3, 7
Ito-Yokado, 6, 16
Itochu Home Fashion, 1
Itochu Shoji, 1, 7
Itochu Shokuhin, 11
Itokin, 3
Iwataya, 7, 14
Izumi, 6
Izumiya, 6
Izutsuya, 15
Jack Wolfskin, 3
Jerome Dreyfuss, 3
Joyful Honda, 10
Junkudo, 16
Keikyu, 13
Kenmin Department Store, 7
Kintetsu, 14
Lawson, 4, 10
Liniere, 7
Loft, 16
Look, 113
Mark Styler, 4
Marui, 13
Matsumotokiyoshi, 11
Matsuya, 14
Maverick, 7
McDonalds Japan, 9
Misaki Shoji, 3
Mitsubishi Shoji, 1, 6
Mitsui, 3
Muji, 7
NAA Retailing, 8
Next UK, 7
Nihon Access, 10
Nike, 7
Nippon Steel Sumikin Bussan, 3
Oban Holdings, 11
Onward, 11
Parco, 6, 17
Persodea, 6
Pinkberry, 7
Rakuten, 3
RedyAzel, 9
Renfro, 7
Restir, 6
Rodesko Urban Research, 6
Samantha Thavasa, 9
San-A, 6
Sanki Shoji, 3
Sann Freres, 3
Sanrio, 8
Seijo Ishii, 11
Seiyu, 617
Sense of Place, 6
Seria, 4
Seven-Eleven, 16
Shimamura, 7
Shoo La Rue, 7
Sogo Seibu, 9, 13, 16
Sports Authority, 11
Stradivarius, 6
Takarajimasha, 7
Takashimaya, 2, 13, 14
Tara Jarmon, 3
Tenmaya, 15
Tokiwa, 15
Tokyu Department Store, 8, 11
Tokyu Hands, 6, 8, 11
Tokyu Show Slice, 8
TopValu, 6, 8
Toray Diplomode, 1, 3
Toshin Kaihatsu, 16
Tsutaya, 5
Ueno Shokai, 3
Uniqlo, 617, 16
Uny, 6
Urban Research, 6
Venus Fort, 6
Vera Bradley, 1
Walmart Seiyu, 6
Watts, 4
Woolrich, 3
World,, 7, 11
Xebio, 1,
Yagi Tsusho, 3
Zerogate, 6

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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JapanConsuming Headlines May 2014

May 6, 2014
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JapanConsuming: Headlines April 2014

April 7, 2014

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

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JapanConsuming Headlines: March 2014

March 7, 2014

Click here to Subscribe Now 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 […]

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