February 2017 Highlights

Mar 09

FOCUS:
Supermarkets becoming regional powerhouses as GMS chains flounder
Japan’s supermarket sector remains extremely fragmented, but with consumers waking up to better deals and improved merchandising, some chains around the country are now making serious headway. A regionally diverse model is appearing, with individual chains now coming to dominate in particular areas. What is more, the gap between supermarkets and the more mixed merchandise GMS chains is getting wider as the latter continue to struggle. With all the results for the first half of 2016 now in, this focus provides a summary of the winners and losers.

New shopping mall builds to fall below 50 a year
The number of newly opened shopping centres looks set to fall below 50 in 2017. Labour shortages and higher costs are part of the problem, but so is consumer restraint. Of those SCs being built or renovated the prevailing theme is a greatly increased focus on services and entertainment and different types of merchandise beyond fashion.

EditoriaL: It’s all about food

Rizap buys Jeansmate
A training gym and health & beauty business has launched a bid to take over beleaguered apparel retailer Jeansmate. It plans a revival of the chain but it may take a lot more than its budgeted ¥500 million to fix it.

Uniqlo Move: athleisure for the people
Uniqlo has reached saturation at home and is focusing much of its energy overseas, but it will launch a new store format for Uniqlo next month, its first ever. Called Uniqlo Move the store will sell sports and athleisure wear. The new sub-brand highlights Uniqlo’s decision a year ago to invest heavily in this market. It may well cause ructions among sports brands if it can do to this market what it did to the denim business.

Nitori: Japan’s most popular retailer
In short order, Nitori has become a very sought-after tenant. The furniture retailer is able to generate more footfall at a single location than any single apparel store, and, ideal for department stores and GMS chains, can fill a lot more space on otherwise uninspiring sales floors. With savvy hedging of exchanges rates, the chain is now looking stronger than ever.

Premium Friday: time to shop?
We’ve seen Ecopoints, Cool Biz, Warm Biz, and others. The latest government-backed scheme to boost consumer spending, which launches this month, is much less subtle but, despite a slightly dubious logo, already has over 150 firms signed up to take part.

Wowma! KDDI relaunches e-commerce business
KDDI has merged its existing e-commerce business with recent acquisitions to create a ¥62 billion online mall. It now hopes to use this base to build a competitor to the big three online malls, and has begun wooing major retailers like Marui and Triumph International to make this happen.

Fixing sales licenses: Harris Tweed
Scottish tweed has always been sold as a luxury in Japan, particularly the famous name of Harris Tweed. In the last two years, Harris Tweed has been sold everywhere from Ito-Yokado to Shimamura, making it a distinctly mass market moniker, and a cautionary lesson in what can happen to a famous brand that isn’t under strict supervision.

Department stores sales fall to 36 year low
Department store sales fell below ¥6 trillion last year. This is no surprise. As reported before, the sector will continue to shrink, while, within it, key chains and stores will thrive. Longer term the culling of more redundant stores and conversion of others to shopping centres will actually benefit those department stores that remain, creating a sector that is more authentically upscale and at last free from the burden of overcapacity that has dogged it for 20 years.

A quarter of couples marrying for second time
A newly published analysis of Japan’s vital statistics includes the ‘happy’ news that traditional taboos against re-marriage are today largely broken and the number of marriages (and divorces) is growing. It is a piece of good news in a country where marriage remains surprisingly unpopular and birthrates continue to decline.

Savings soar as spending falls again
Household spending dropped again in December and January as consumer confidence weakens further. The concern arises from a combination of stagnant wages, rising prices on basics including a 23% increase in fruit & veg prices, and a confusing message from the government.

Tokyo Base surges 50% after listing
Tokyo Base has been one of the fastest growing fashion retailers in the last three years. While still a small business, it listed on the Mothers market last year and continues to expand its main select shop chain, Studious, as well as its promising new SPA chain, United Tokyo. It is also about to launch in Hong Kong.

Seven Bank: the secret to CVS profits
Recently, both Lawson and Familymart have announced new plans to expand ATM services in their stores. Given that Seven Eleven has had such success with its own banking service, the only question is why its two rivals have taken so long to launch their own.

IN BRIEF
Gap opens on Zozotown
Sazaby signs Australian bag brand State of Escape
Demand for Toilet paper to hit record levels
Konaka to open 12 more order-made suit stores this Spring
Danish accessories brand Sostrene Grene opens in Japan
St Andrew’s Golf signed to TSI
A third of men expect to be ‘loved’ on Valentine’s Day
Pendleton signs with Sojitz
Amazon opens Launchpad
Save On becomes a Lawson franchise
Baroque plans new expansion
Interbridge signs Doucal’s
Aeon Mall opens new OPA in Kobe
Watch market jumps 18%
Chain stores down, supermarkets up in 2016
TSI signs Atelier Paulin
Seven Eleven aims for 1 billion cups of coffee a year
Izumiya to pull out of Kanto
Levi Strauss posts 6% increase in Japan sales
Aeon to open five organic farms
Ito-Yokado to absorb Seven Bi-no Garden
Yahoo sales up 60.4%

Retail Data: December shortfall again for department stores

Companies and Brands Mentioned in this Issue
Aeon
A Colle
Aeon
Ain Pharmaciez
Amazon
Angeliebe
Aoki Super
Arcs
As of November
Atelier Paulin
Auntie Rosa
Azul by Moussy
Baroque Japan
Barutti
Beams
Beisia
Belce
Callaway Golf
Cox
Crooz
Daiei
Daimaru Matsuzakaya
Daiso
DeNA Shopping
Dentelliere
Detores
Doucal’s
Doutor
Enfold
Familymart
Fast Retailing
Francfranc
Gap Japan
Ginza Six
Global Work
Godiva
GU
H2O Retailing
Harris Tweed
Heiwado
Hilmer Japan
IKEA
Inageya
Interbridge
Isetan-Mitsukoshi
Itochu Shoji
Izumi
Izumiya
J Front
Japan Post
JINS
Joshin Denki
JR Takashimaya
Kao
Kasumi
Kohyo
Konaka
Levi Strauss
Life Corp
Locondo
Lohaco
Lumine
Mai Basuketto
Mamorio
Mariumura
Marronier Gate
Maruetsu
Maruhisa
Marui
Marukyo
Marumiya Store
Matsuya Foods
Matsuzakaya Ueno
Maxvalu
Meiji Chocolate
Minoya
Mitsubishi Shoji
Mitsui
Muji
Nara Family
Nikke Park Town
OPA
Origin Toshu
Outdoor Products
Parco
Pendleton Woollen Mills
Piago
Picard
Poplar
Printemps Ginza
Rakuten
Ralse
Recruit
Retail Partners
Right On
Rizap Group
Ron Herman
Save On
Sazaby League
Seiyu
Seven Bank
Seven Bi-no Garden
Ships
Shop List
Sojitz
Sostrene Grene
St Andrews
Start Today
State of Escape
Studious
Sundrug
Superchain Shiga
T-Site
Taiyo
Takashimaya
Three F
Tobu Department Store
Topvalu
Toray
Toys R Us
Triumph International
TSI Holdings
Under Armour
Uniqlo
United Arrows
United Tokyo
Universe
Uny
USMH
Valor
Watts
Wowma
Yahoo
Yaoko
Zara
Zozotown

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