Highlights July/August 2014

Jul 08

Focus: Sales peak or new beginning? Retail results FY2013
FY2013 retail results were heavily influenced by both renewed consumer confidence and increased spending spurred by the pending tax increase, but they also represent a new benchmark for the industry. Whereas a decade ago, the high performing retailers stood out as the exceptions, last year the opposite was true, with just a small number of strugglers in the top 50. Some worry that this represents a peak for some companies, but given the way the industry has evolved, it’s more likely to be a starting point for the next phase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retail Data: May sales not bad at all

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

Company and Brand Index this month

[columns count=”4″]ABC Mart
Adastria HD
Aeffe SpA
Aeon Group
Aeon Retail
Aim Create
Ain Pharmaciez
Airplay
Alpen
Amazon
Aoyama Shoji
AWCG
Barneys Japan
Baroque Japan
Base
Beams
Beisia
Belle International
Best Denki
Bic Camera
Big A
Blue Bottle Coffee
Breuer
Cainz
Cartier
Cawachi Yakuhin
Celine
Chardy
Chiyoda
Christian Louboutin
Chromecast
Coach
Cocokara Fine
Coronet
Cosmos Yakuhin
Daiei
Daiki
Daimaru Matsuzakaya
DCM Holdings
Don Quijote
Eastpak
Elle Japon
Emanuel Ungaro
Familymart
Fast Retailing
Fijian Water Lotus
Forever 21
Frame Japan
G-Foot
Garment Seven
GEMS
Google
Gourmet City
GU
Gucci
H2O Retailing
Hankyu Hanshin
Hankyu Mens Osaka
Hankyu Umeda
Homac
IKEA
Isetan-Mitsukoshi
Ito-Yokado
Itochu Shoji
Izumiya
J Front Retailing
John Lobb
Joshin Denki
JR East
JR West
JRunway
Kasumi
Kinokuniya
Kohnan Shoji
Kojima
Komeri
Lalaport
Lanvin
Lawson HMV
Locondo
Louis Vuitton
Lucien Pellat-Finet
Lucua
Lumine Est
MAC
Magaseek
Magnolia Bakery
Marubeni
Maruetsu
Maruzen
Matsumotokiyoshi
Maxomarra
Mitsui Real Estate
Mujirushi Ryohin
Nakamuraya
Nikki
Nissen
Nitori
Nojima
Nomura Real Estate
NTT Docomo
Ocean Pacific
Odakyu
Okuwa
Old Navy
Parco
Peggy Lana
Prime Garden
Raf Simons
Rakuchin
Rakuten
Ralph Lauren
Restir
Right On
Ryohin Keikaku
Saty
Seibu
Seria
Seven Eleven
Shimamura
Snidel
Sogo Seibu
Sojitz
Sugi Yakkyoku
Sumitomo Shoji
Takashimaya
The Body Shop
Tiffany
Tokyu Department Store
Topvalu
Uniqlo
United Arrows
Uny
Urban Research
Xebio
Yamada Denki
Yamaya
Yaoko
York Benimaru
Yporque [/columns]

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