Apparel Retailing 2015-16: specialty retailers surge ahead, led by top chains
The apparel market overall contracted in 2015, but while small business and GMS chains lost out, big specialty retailers leapt ahead. It was a year of concentration and consolidation, with the top retailers across all formats taking share away from the rest. Independent stores were decimated, especially in the shrinking regions, but big corporate chains took further control in expanding big cities. While the top 100 apparel retailers overall now own nearly 80% of the apparel market, in specialty retailing, the top 10 alone own 80% of womenswear specialty, and the top 20 have 90% of menswear. The sector remains perennially dynamic, with lots of new blood bringing fresh ideas and startling growth.
Department stores cull continues
Isetan-Mitsukoshi will close two Mitsukoshi stores next Spring and rebrand Mitsukoshi Sakae in Nagoya as a shopping mall. Following Sogo Seibu’s announcement of more closures – and the selling over of three stores to H2O Retailing – this is another sign that department stores are tightening their belts again following the end of the boom. The old profit engine was apparel, but sales have collapsed even during the last few boom years. As a result, more department stores will close in the next few years.
Editorial: Consumers expect special
Nitori: department store favourite in city centres, targets IKEA abroad
Nitori is fast becoming the Uniqlo of home furnishings retailing. Just like the apparel chain, it first became successful as a suburban big box store selling basic, cheap household goods and furniture mostly in beige. In the last ten years, it has transformed into a more diverse retailer with more creative and colourful home collections built on efficient and disciplined supply chains. This has allowed it to begin to invade city centres, and from this Autumn Nitori will open as a tenant in several department stores, including in the key transport hubs around Tokyo.
Magaseek builds mobile fashion sales for NTT Docomo
Long ago Magaseek matched Zozotown in sales and growth, but today it is a fraction of its rival’s size. Takeover by NTT Docomo has helped bring in investment capital but most of this has gone on building up the latter’s dFashion mobile network.
Tourist numbers rise but retail benefitting less
Fears that the tourist boom may be coming to an end were abated in the summer as the number of overseas visitors again broke new records. Domestic tourism remains a worry, with hotel occupancy down, as people stayed at home following the Kumamoto earthquake. Although visitor numbers continue to rise, there is a clear shift in spending patterns, and retailers need to work harder and find more sophisticated ways of reaching these windfall shoppers.
G-Foot is lagging behind ABC Mart in sales and profit growth, but the Aeon-owned business is creating new chains as well as expanding into franchises and joint ventures, including a tie up with 6,000 store Chinese retailer Daphne International.
Wholesaling has a great 2015
Japan‘s consumer goods wholesalers had a great year in 2015. Although improved results for some sub-sectors largely represented a bounce back from a couple of lean years following the 2014 tax hike, the top companies have not been resting on their laurels. In food and pharmaceuticals in particular, the big firms have been working to both improve productivity and to provide more attractive services to retail clients, all the while tying them into new keiretsu groups binding big wholesale and retail.
Department stores do franchising
As department store retailing contracts again (see Page 1), department stores are looking for new ways to grow as well as replace department store sales floors with better alternatives. One way is franchising popular retail chains, which department stores say helps improve profits, but also provides work for permanent employees.
Lohaco creates marketplace including fashion tenants
Lohaco is only four years old, but sales look set to hit ¥50 billion this year, up nearly 50%, following a 64% increase the year before. All this growth has come through direct sales, but from last month, it started offering tenancies in an online marketplace similar to the Amazon model. This has increased merchandise by more than 2.5 times, introducing new categories like fashion with more to come such as sports and outdoor products.
Retail Data: Department Stores down 6% in August
Sazaby signs Canada Goose
Mash Holdings opens Parisian confectionery store Hugo & Victor
Takashimaya opens six select shops
Sogo Seibu tries crowdfunding
Familiar‘s new store targets young mothers
CGC gets caught price fixing
Toys R Us to open small format stores
Luggage brand Centurion enters Japanese market
Discount kids: Don Quijote to open in-store creches
Bio c‘Bon to open 9 December
Daiei launches online sale of organic meat
Tokyu invests in city shopping
More mums in work
Kitakyushu mall reopens
Liberty of London to launch leather goods in Japan
Gotemba Outlet to open hotel and hot spring
Itochu signs Etonic
Faure Le Page to open first stand alone store in Japan
Daimaru-Matsuzakaya launches cosmetics chain
Seven & I to delist Nissen
United Arrows enters home fashion market
Matsuya downgrades forecasts
Five Foxes closes Peyton Place
Luxottica folds Oakley Japan into subsidiary
Omni7 launches drug sales
Companies/Brands in this issue
Bleu Comme Bleu
Faure Le Page
Fray I. D.
Jean Paul Gaultier
JR Tokai Takashimaya
Kintetsu Department Stores
Okajima Department Store
Sakae Fashion Mall
Season Style Lab
Sense of Place
Shoo La Rue
Tiny Garden Kitchen
Toys R Us
Get a concise monthly update on Japanese Consumer Markets – and a FREE copy of our monthly report.