October 2015 Highlights

Oct 06

FOCUS: Apparel Retailing FY2014-15: making the best of it
Apparel retailers entered FY2014 with a good deal of worry about just how long consumers would stay away from stores after splurging before the consumption tax increase. The good news was that for many the second half of the year was positive, and by the end of the year, losses had been recouped. As a result the sector ended just ahead of FY2013, a very resilient performance in the face of tough challenges. The biggest 100 retailers increased their share yet again reaching nearly 66% of the entire apparel market, but growth also came from very promising chains only a few years old.

Seven & I to launch Omni7 online marketplace next month
Two years after announcing its much vaunted omnichannel strategy, Seven & I is launching the first stage in its integration of both offline and online sales channels, introducing large scale ‘click & collect’ to Japan for the first time. While Amazon can provide same day delivery in some areas, Seven & I is about to offer same day pick-up at 18,000 convenience stores nationwide within hours of any order.

Editorial: Omni-rush: seamless shopping

LINE opens Trip Bazaar: a new route for brands not yet sold in Japan
LINE is expanding its online retail operations through a new social shopping function, offering opportunities for overseas brands to target the Japanese market. The LINE messaging app will act as a social shopping platform, allowing users to digitally window shop for carefully selected brands not currently available at home.

Mitsukoshi Ginza ¥4 billion relaunch
Mitsukoshi Ginza will have a grand opening ceremony in mid-October to celebrate a further ¥4 billion remodelling designed to keep the store competitive with its neighbours and attract even more tourists.

GMS crisis deepens: top chains announce store closures
It is no secret that the general merchandise store (GMS) sector is past its prime, but recent results suggest the crisis is only getting worse. Last month two of the largest chains announced store closures, following on from similar announcements from Seiyu. Aeon too is looking to restructure its operations. Is there any chance the sector can emulate department stores and turn things around? Things do not look good.

Sales per tourist rise 18% in 2014 as tourism surges
Everyone knows that tourist spending is booming, helping department stores in particular offset weaker domestic spending on discretionary items. But how much each tourist spends and what they spend it on is harder to define. A recent survey of 13,000 tourists helps to shed light on Japan’s great Tourist Dividend; while Chinese dominate in both numbers and average spend per person, it is the French and Indians who then spend the most.

Sogo Seibu to launch luxury online store, e.Castel
Seven & I has authorised large budgets for any group retailer that comes up with projects to help in its efforts to become Japan’s first true omnichannel retailer. The latest is a luxury online store from Sogo Seibu with its own branding.

Expocity SC to open with 305 stores
In November Mitsui will open its biggest Lalaport shopping centre and the largest single SC in the country to date. The Expocity Lalaport will open in northern Osaka. 2015 marks 35 years since the first Lalaport opened and this year has been the busiest yet in terms of SC openings.

Lohaco becoming major netsuper
Lohaco, Askul’s online shopping site aimed at the general consumer market, is fast becoming a significant competitor for the likes of Amazon and Seven & I. Backed by Askul’s considerable experience in non-store retail, Lohaco took a further step this summer by introducing a major update to its smartphone shopping app. The app has been heavily researched to target busy female shoppers, introducing a magazine style format as well as easy search and detailed purchase and browsing history.

Matsukiyo LAB: the new beauty store for singles
With all the major drugstore chains introducing new value added services in efforts to compete in the increasingly saturated sector, last month the leading chain, Matsumotokiyoshi, added to the competition with the first of an entirely new format. Matsukiyo LAB is aiming for 50 stores within five years, targeting single person households in urban areas with a large range of beauty, health and lifestyle merchandise.

Isetan-Mitsukoshi signs up to T-Point loyalty system
In the first case for a department store, Isetan-Mitsukoshi will establish a joint venture company with leading third-party loyalty card provider, CCC. The T-Point loyalty card system is the most widely accepted in Japan. Signing Isetan-Mitsukoshi is a major coup, and the department store is expecting the relationship to pay equal dividends in helping it better segment its market and come up with ways to target new customers, notably those under 45.

Senshukai launches new brand targeting sales of ¥40 billion in 2018
Following J Front’s investment, Senshukai is working hard to realign itself as an omnichannel retailer. With close to 80% of sales coming from online, and a legacy supply chain reliant on wholesalers, this is a challenge, but it is now launching new brands designed for both store roll out and online sales, all with direct sourcing. The first is Belle Maison Days.

Takashimaya and Onward link through online & stores
Takashimaya and Onward have launched a collaboration that allows sales assistants in Onward’s brand concessions to order unavailable items directly from Select Square, Takashimaya’s online store. For Onward, this means more flexibility in merchandising and better use of limited space. For Takashimaya it expands the options for omnichannel services and provides an opportunity to better serve its regional customers.

Retail Data: Tourist traffic jumps 290% in August

IN BRIEF
Daimaru Matsuzakaya installs four Laox stores this Autumn
Nitori continues to grow sales and profits
Aeon to require international safety standards of produce suppliers
Times 24 parking coming to Familymart
Japan the eighth best place for seniors
QB House to open in supermarkets
Supermarket sales up 2% in August
UK’s The Organic Pharmacy in Japan
Isetan promotes kawaii culture
Itochu signs Santoni
XZ claims 270,000 online closets, raises ¥140m funding
Non-store sales up 5% in FY2014
Select Food: Baycrews opens Farmshop franchise in Japan
Isetan deepens customer service with artificial intelligence
Beams signs New York’s Pilgrim Surf+Supply
Jun and Nike collaborate on sports fashion store Nergy
Tokyu plans new select shop in Ginza
Marui City becomes Modi
JR East to add new SC at Yokohama station
Imported brand market up 10.3% in 2014
Odakyu updates Shinjuku Flags

INDEX: COMPANIES/BRANDS IN THIS ISSUE (number = page no.)

Adastria, 15, 17 Aeon, 4-5, 8, 11-12, 17 Akachan Honpo, 1, 17 Amazon Japan, 1, 8 Aoki, 17 Aoyama, 17 Apple, 9 Askul, 2, 8 Atelier Fenêtre, 15 Banana Republic, 15 Barneys Japan, 17 Baycrews, 8, 15 Beams, 9 Belle Maison Days, 10-11 Bershka, 16 Branshes, 17 Bulgari, 7 Buyma, 3 Calbee, 8 Casa Mila, 17 Circle K Sunkus, 5 Cocokara Fine Holdings, 9 Cox, 17 Cross Company, 15, 17 Culture Convenience Club, 10 Daiei, 4-5 Daimaru Matsuzakaya, 3 Disney, 14 e.Castel, 1, 7 Egoist, 17 Expocity, 7, 10 F. O. International, 17 F. T., 17 Farmshop, 8 Fast Retailing, 5, 14-15 Forever 21, 15-16 Fray I. D., 14 Gap, 15-16 George, 5 Giorgio Armani, 7 Girly Rose, 7 Global Work, 15 GU, 14, 17 Haruyama Shoji, 16 Honey Bunch Mutual, 7 Honeys, 17 ICB, 11 Inditex Japan, 16 Isetan Girl, 7 Isetan Mitsukoshi, 10 Ito-Yokado, 1, 3-5, 11-12, 17 Itochu Shoji, 7 Izumi, 5, 17 J Front, 10-11 Japan Imagination, 17 Japan Post, 2 Jean Paul Gaultier, 5, 17 Joe Sister, 7 JR East, 11 JR Takashimaya Nagoya, 16 Jun, 10 Kawaii Culture, 6-7 Koe, 15 Koko Lumine, 6 Lalaport, 7 Laox, 3 Laso, 3 Laura Ashley, 17 Lawson Farm, 3 Limited Edition, 17 LINE Trip Bazaar, 3 Loft, 1 Lohaco, 1-2, 8 Lowrys Farm, 15 Lumine, 6, 11 Mac House, 17 Marui, 11 Mash Holdings, 14, 16 Matsukiyo LAB, 1, 9 Matsumotokiyoshi, 9 Matsuya, 16 Melie Bianco, 3 Mikke, 10 Mitsui Real Estate, 7 Mitsukoshi, 1, 3-4, 10 Modi, 11 Monki, 16 Nergy, 10 Nifrel, 7 Nike, 10 Nissen, 1, 7 Nitori, 3-4 Old Navy, 15 Onward Holdings, 3 Pal Group, 17 Parco, 11 Pilgrim Surf, 9 QB House, 5 Rakuten, 1, 8 Regal, 7 Ryohin Keikaku, 15 Sagawa, 2 Santoni, 7 Seiyu, 4, 8 Select Square, 11 Sense of Place, 15 Sensy, 9 Sept Premieres, 17 Serendips, 6 Shimamura, 5, 17 ShinQs, 10 Snidel, 14 Sogo, 1-2, 7, 17 Start Today, 12 T-Point, 1, 10 Taka Q, 17 Tiffany, 7 Times Car Plus, 4 Tiny Garden Kitchen, 15 Tokyu, 6, 10 Trinity Arts, 14-15 Uniqlo, 14, 16-17 United Arrows, 15 Uny, 4-5 Urban Research, 14-16 Walmart, 4 Wego, 15 Welcia Holdings, 9 Workman, 16 XZ, 7 Yamada Denki, 5 Yamato, 1-3 Zara, 16 Zozotown, 8

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