April 2017 Highlights

Apr 07

EC Success: best practices in selling online in Japan
Kurt Salmon carried out its second Annual Digital Fulfilment Study in late 2016, not only providing a snapshot of the operational capabilities of Japan’s e-commerce retailers, but also offering insights into where Japan stands in comparison with other major markets. There are also some key trends emerging as the survey repeats. JapanConsuming was given early access to the report specifically for our readers. The following summary provides details about how e-commerce retailers are evolving, what’s working, what’s not, and what is now considered best practice in the sector.

Ancien régime revenge: Isetan-Mitsukoshi dismisses CEO
It is not everyday a leading retail executive loses his job in Japan, although it seems to be becoming far more common. Last month, Isetan-Mitsukoshi, the largest department store group, ditched its high flying, ambitious leader, ostensibly because of poor financial performance. In reality, internal politics and bickering over power was mostly to blame. The move makes little sense, and looking to the group’s future, it creates more questions than answers.

Editorial: A fickle appetite for innovation

Itochu signs Rhino Rugby, Coronet signs 3 US brands
Itochu Shoji runs brands like a record company runs music acts, allocating one manager to run many labels, and relying on distribution affiliates and licensees to do the heavy lifting while it focuses on overall strategy and coordination. This means its capacity to bring in more brands is almost limitless, and in the past few months it has signed yet more foreign licenses. It has also agreed a joint venture with Yamato International for the Penfield brand.

Picard airdrops food to open on time
French frozen food retailer Picard, which is run by Aeon in Japan, finally opened its third store in late February, a month later than originally planned. With supplies coming from Europe, and unforeseen popularity for what is an entirely new concept for Japan, the company was forced to supplement its logistics with air freight to get the store up and running.

Adastria launches home fashion store, acquires US fashion brand
Adastria has launched its first foray into the home fashion market, billing it as a major new pillar of growth with the potental to build to ¥100 billion in sales over the medium term. Adastria has also begun to utilise its cash reserves to acquire other fashion businesses, including its first foray into the US market.

T-Site Kashiwanoha: a new type of family destination
CCC’s T-Site SC concept is an attempt to answer the question of how SCs can thrive in an e-commerce world. The latest iteration, which opened last month, demonstrates how an SC can offer generous amounts of public space and mix shopping, eating, and study classes in a fluid environment suggestive more of a community centre than shopping arcade – and still make money.

Cosmetics chains expand
The fashion retail category used to consist almost entirely of apparel and accessories, but in recent years dedicated cosmetics stores, including both single brand “SPA” stores and cosmetics select shops, have also begun to proliferate across SCs and station buildings. Now drugstores and fashion retailers are investing in this high margin market at home and even overseas.

Baroque aims for 50% of sales and 1,000 stores in China by 2025
Baroque Japan has seen reasonable levels of growth at home, and although it originally struggled overseas, now plans a major push in China. Helped by its Chinese owners, it wants to make China its second home market, while using social media and stores in the US as promotional vehicles, aiming to propel sales over ¥100 billion through 2020.

Aeon props up SC development
Investment in new city centre SCs continues, but the number of new SCs due to come online in 2017 is likely to drop below 50 for only the second time since large store regulations were relaxed back in 2000 (see JC1702). Half of the space in the 46 confirmed new properties will belong to Aeon alone.

Magaseek boosts EC services for department stores and brands
Magaseek has recognised the limited growth potential for its own online fashion portal in the face of competition from Zozotown and other malls. As a result, it has been growing its supply fulfilment and marketing packages offered to third party retailers who prefer not to build their own digital divisions. This is proving particularly attractive to department stores.

Metro opens inner city centre
Metro is a huge, German retailer and wholesaler that has operated in Japan since 2000. It may have been here 17 years, but it has kept quiet, gradually carving a niche in cash and carry food and basic supplies for SME restaurants, bakeries, hotels and similar establishments. It has now opened a new format which could well allow it to expand across the country.

Locondo lists on Mothers market
Start Today makes overseas fund full subsidiary
ABC Mart scolded for incorrect price marketing
Tiffany sees sales surge at the end of 2016
Accessories markets contract
Onward ties with C Channel on new online store
United Arrows pushes e-commerce
All aboard JR East’s new Ferrari Express
Seven & I targets ¥1.5 trillion from private label
Right On launches Naughty Dog
Stripe opens select shop
Furla powers ahead in Japan
Isetan-Mitsukoshi launches new fashion brand
Himaraya moves into sports fashion
Otsuka Kagu criticised by shareholders, but remains positive
Tokyo Midtown sales hit record high
Thermos opens own store
Self-checkouts not so popular in Japan
Free washing for the masses
Amazake becomes mainstream


Companies & Brands mentioned in this Issue (Number means page number)

Adastria, 1, 5-6
Adidas, 8
Aeon, 1, 4, 7, 9-10
Aeon Saveur, 4
Aigle, 4
Ain Pharmaciez, 7
Ainz & Tulpe, 7
Alexander Lee Chang, 9
Amazon, 12-15
Apita, 10
Atre, 7
Azul by Moussy, 8
Baroque Japan, 8-9
Baycrews, 6, 8
Beams, 8
Belle International, 8
Bic Camera, 14
Biople, 7
Bitcoin, 14
Bonique, 11
Bourneland, 6
C Channel, 5
Caitac International, 6
Converse Tokyo, 9
Coronet, 1, 4
Cosme Kitchen, 7-8
Costco, 11
Creative Yoko, 8
Culture Convenience Club, 3
Daiwa House, 10
Deco Home, 9
Derek Lam, 4
Element Rule, 6
Emmi Wellness Closet, 8
Enfold, 8
F Organics, 7
Facebook, 15
Familiar, 6
Familymart, 10
FrancFranc, 5
Furla, 8
Garage of Good Clothing, 8
Global Work, 5
Good Sleep Factory, 9
Hankyu Fruit Gathering, 8
Haruka Style, 11
Himaraya, 9
Hips & Lips, 7
Hulic, 10
Imagination Playground, 6
Inditex, 9
Innovate Organics, 8
Instagram, 8, 15
Isetan Mirror, 8
Isetan-Mitsukoshi, 1, 3, 8, 11
Itochu Shoji, 4, 9
Izumi, 9
John Lawrence Sullivan, 8
JR East, 6
Kamata Metro, 11
Kao, 7
Khiel’s, 7
Kintetsu, 11
Koe House, 7
Kokobuy, 8
Kurt Salmon, 12-15
La Cucina Felice, 7
Lacoste, 4
Lakole, 5
Lalaport, 5-6
Lanvin, 4
Lightarium, 9
Locondo, 3, 14
Lohaco, 12, 15
Lowrys Farm, 5
Lucua, 7
Lumine, 8
Mango, 3
Marks & Web, 7-8
Marui, 7, 13
Mash Holdings, 7-8
Matsuzakaya, 10
Meitetsu, 10
Mercari, 12
Metro AG, 11
Mitsubishi Shoji, 5
Mitsui Real Estate, 10
Morinaga, 11
Moussy, 8-9
Muji, 5, 12
Naughty Dog, 7
Nippon Sanso, 10
Nitori, 5, 9
Nomura Real Estate, 10
NTT Docomo, 11
Oh My Glasses, 7
Onward Holdings, 5
OPA, 8-9
Otsuka Kagu, 9
Pageboy, 6
Parco, 10
Penfield, 4
Picard, 1, 4
Prada, 6
Rakuten, 12, 14
Rhino Rugby, 1, 4
Right On, 7
Sakula, 8
Seibu, 3
Seven Eleven, 7, 9, 13
Shiseido, 7
Snidel, 11
Starbucks, 7
Start Today, 3, 6, 9, 12
Stella McCartney, 8
Stripe International, 7
T-Point, 3
T-Site, 1, 6-7, 9
Thermos, 10
Tiffany, 4
Tokyo Midtown, 10
Tomod’s, 7
Topvalu, 7
Toray Diplomode, 4
Trinity Arts, 5
Tsutaya, 6-7
Uniqlo, 5
United Arrows, 5-6, 8
Yahoo, 12
Yamato International, 4
Zozotown, 5-6, 9, 11