Focus on Drugstores: convenience stores for women
Drugstores were mostly small, independent stores or small regional chains as recently as 10 years ago. Today they make up one of the most dynamic retail sectors in the country. In volume it is about to become the latest retail sector to overtake department stores, and is one where, again, Aeon dominates with 22% share. Consolidation and further modernisation is on the cards. This and the diverse formats and even wider array of merchandise mean they are an increasingly important conduit for a multitude of consumer brands from cosmetics to food, and a great channel to reach women.
April and May retail sales steady
Retail sales fell in April as expected, and by marginally more than in 1997, but the industry still performed well and the extreme decline feared by manydid not happen. Indeed, many chains were reporting that sales were back to levels seen in 2013 by the end of the month and others were already back on track in May.
Editorial: Where are the local luxury brands?
Burberry takes control in Japan
As expected Burberry will cancel its main licenses in Japan next year. Headlines quoted plans to quadruple sales in Japan but the actual sales referred to were Burberry’s existing direct operations in Japan, not licensees. There is nevertheless a clear intention to invest heavily in growing the Japanese market, especially retail investment. Sanyo Shokai is at last moving on, licensing a new label from UK brand Mackintosh called Mackintosh London, which it hopes to open in many current Burberry concessions, but competition for this space will be stiff.
Delvaux sets up shop in Japan
One of the oldest and most exclusive European bag brands is finally coming to Japan thanks to investment by Li & Fung. Delvaux will open here in August and plans a string of stores and concessions over the next five years.
Small city supermarkets: the latest food format begins to take-off
Convenience store expansion has passed its peak and retailers are looking for new solutions for small footprint food retailing. The number of c-stores exceeded 50,000 in November, reaching 50,890 stores in February and then dropping in March. With the exception of sector leader Seven Eleven, all the major chains, along with various supermarkets (see Page 5), have begun to shift away from the standard and ubiquitous 100 sqm, snack food filled stores.
Inditex rolls out new stores, Zara Home breaking records
Inditex Japan now has four of its Spanish parent’s brands operating here, and based on plans for the rest of this year, looks like entering a new phase of expansion, creating one of the largest foreign retail businesses in Japan. Stradivarius’s launch in Japan in January and Zara Home’s new flagship in Aoyama were met with such success that Inditex must surely be considering other house brands for this market.
Aeon to consolidate supermarket interests, create new Kanto chain
Having announced a consolidation of drugstore interests back in March, in May Aeon said it plans to establish a new operating company for three of its main supermarket interests in Tokyo, with other Kanto companies joining in later phases. While long expected, the news brought a flurry of speculation as to future moves. An openly consolidated structure not only challenges Seven & I in the capital, it also signals a new push by Aeon to grab market share. There’s even talk of Uny becoming a takeover target.
Ace: a travel solutions business
Ace is Japan’s biggest home-grown luggage firm, despite losing both Samsonite and Tumi over the last decade. As well as signing replacements, it is also investing heavily in its own brands with plans to globalise distribution over the next few years with the help of US subsidiary Zero Halliburton and Italian partner Pelletteria Clio.
Japan Post to launch e-commerce and fulfilment service
Japan Post will be publicly listed next year and has been preparing a move into a brasher, more commercial world for years. Its latest plan is to exploit its trusted brand, post office network and logistics to create a one stop shop e-commerce service emulating the merchant services of Rakuten and Amazon and the logistics capabilities of Yamato and Sagawa.
Aeon: switching to city centres
Shopping centres are at the heart of Aeon’s business. By late 2016, Aeon will have completed a series of large scale malls stretching across the country, including improved entertainment features, better location targeting, and improved integration with other retail banners in the group. The only problem is that 70% of Aeon’s existing malls are in areas where populations are set to decline markedly by 2025 and it is nearing capacity in the regions, explaining the retail giant’s new found enthusiasm for city centres.
Snap your fashion desires
New ways to use smartphones to find great fashion continue to emerge, the latest launching last month in London combining scanning technologies with social networking that could threaten home-grown apps like Wear, while providing new ways to market fashion.
Retail Data: Department stores down 12% in April
News in Brief
Old Navy sets up in Kanazawa, increases store opening pace
Takashimaya & H2O RETAILING to expand merchandise collaboration
Iwataya Mitsukoshi to target younger crowd with new fashion floor
QVC Japan breaks ¥100 billion
Bra sizes INCREASING says Triumph
Mitsubishi increases stake in Life supermarket
Italian brand Fix Design in Japan
Restaurant sales up in April DESPITE TAX INCREASE
Aeon Mall delays shopping mall opening due to cost increases
Sazaby signs Hawaiian organic cosmetics brand
Bic Camera ties with Radishboya
Stores.jp ties with Parco
Lasalle buys Malera Gifu
Coach to open Shinjuku flagship
Mitsubishi Estate-Simon sees sales up 12%
Familymart ties with Fujio Food, opens new convenience store hybrid
Seven Eleven begins rollout in JR West stations
United Arrows to open sports store with running station
Arcs to merge Belleplus and Jois
GU hits 11 million online members
Futako Tamagawa Rise set for completion in 2015.
Familymart renews its loyalty point system
Rakuten opens delivery lockers in Osaka
Aeon and Sapporo launch discount beer
Get a concise monthly update on Japanese Consumer Markets – and a FREE copy of our monthly report.