March 2018 Top Stories

Mar 06

FOCUS
Drugstores stealing major share in food, cosmetics, and household goods
Drugstores are the one retail sector to show consistent growth over the past decade. It is fast becoming a key channel for mass market cosmetics, health and medical supplies, as well as all types of foods, with some chains now already selling enough food to qualify as top 20 supermarkets. Drugstores already own close to a 40% share in cosmetics. With massive consolidation in the sector, leading chains are looking for ways to differentiate their ranges and add value, making them an increasingly vital channel for imported brands.

Stripe and Softbank launch upscale online mall
Stripe International has tied with Softbank to open the latest online fashion mall in Japan, Stripe Department. The new mall positions itself at the premium end of the market, hence the name, creating for the first time an online mall with a very distinct positioning. There’s lots of reasons why it could be a hit.

Editorial: Amazon: Japan’s 3rd biggest retailer?

Charles & Keith to relaunch in Japan
Charles & Keith is a successful bags and footwear retailer selling good design at low prices, a formula that should give it a chance in the Japanese market considering the paucity of major local chains in these categories. Unfortunately, it signed with Onward Holdings for its first attempt but, fortunately, it cancelled this arrangement and will now go it alone.

KDDI reduces Wowma fees to promote e-commerce expansion 
Competition is intensifying among online malls, and those with lower traffic are being forced to reduce fees to ensure sufficient numbers of leading merchants sell through them. KDDI, which is making a play for a major share of the mobile e-commerce market, is the latest.

Ebay buys Qoo10
Ebay has tried to take on the Japanese market before, but is trying again through an acquisition, Qoo10, a business it helped set up. It will fund Qoo10’s expansion, but also use the online mall to feed selected merchandise from other Ebay markets.

Don Quijote ahead again in FY2017
Japan’s largest discount retailer continues to go from strength to strength. Having acquired a 40% stake in the Uny GMS chain last November, Don Quijote is now expecting better results than previously forecast, and the first six experimental Uny-Donki hybrids will all open by the end of this month.

Amazon to increase merchant fees in April, posts record sales
With Yamato pushing up courier fees by around 40%, and increasing pressure on wages in the logistics industry, it was only a matter of time before Amazon decided it needed to pass on some of this cost to its merchants. Meanwhile sales hit another record.

Senshukai to buy back shares from J Front Retailing
Senshukai is giving up on a two-year agreement to build a joint omnichannel system with department store operator J Front Retailing. Despite investment from J Front, Senshukai has made little progress and now plans to go it alone, buying back most or possibly all of the stake held by the larger partner.

Sogo Seibu exits private brand business, closes Limited Edition
Seven & I acquired Sogo Seibu in 2006, thinking the department store would help broaden the conglomerate’s portfolio. It set out to centralise store operations, and in 2009 introduced a new, high-end private brand programme, including collaborations with designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gaultier. In February that programme was cancelled unexpectedly. The good news is that Sogo Seibu will fill the space with more select shop style retailing, providing opportunities for overseas brands.

Aoyama planning jump to ¥300 bn
The suit market will contract as the number of retirees reaches its peak in the next few years, but Aoyama Shoji, which is already far ahead of rivals in the business apparel market, expects to add another ¥50 billion in sales in the next few years. Most of this will come from new ideas, in particular a redefinition of just what business attire is.

Convenience stores: yet more expansion, RFID tags on everything
February saw the usual round of new announcements from the top convenience store chains. Last month included trials for new RFID systems, the latest refresh of the increasingly important coffee ranges, and highway locations for Seven Eleven. Lawson, meanwhile, has finally announced plans to retire the HMV brand.

Zozo launches personal stylist subscriptions
Start Today launched a fashion subscription service last month that promises to use the online fashion firm’s vast mine of data to provide customers with automated fashion top-ups every month. The new Start Today Research business will deepen data capture and analysis to map Japanese fashion trends and preferences, and develop products to match.

Muji leads in digital retail marketing
Five years ago, many pundits wrote off Muji’s chances of expanding much further at home when its sales stood at ¥188 billion, citing concerns about saturation and an ageing brand and customer base. Today it turns over more than ¥333 billion and has plenty of life left in it both at home and abroad. While it has kept pace with new trends in merchandising and retailing, it is its relentless exploitation of new technologies to deepen communication with customers that best expresses Muji’s ability to renew itself.

IN BRIEF
More Isetan food retailing
Locondo ties with Laox, introduces pay later service
109 brand dropped for Machida store
Nerd Unit sets up in Japan
Aeon Retail to open 100 new stores for sports apparel this year
Lumine swaps out 170 tenants, shortens hours
SC sales up 2.1% in 2017
Mitsubishi to complete first phase of Tokyo station development in Spring 2021
Fred Segal operator to liquidate
L’Oreal launches NYX cosmetics brand in Japan
Yamada Denki absorbs Nakayama, challenges Nitori
Sojitz Infinity signs Serge Blanco, plans 20 stores
Adastria aiming for ¥50 billion from select shop business
Trial looking to add RFID to products
JR Kyoto Isetan to get biggest update since opening
H2O to redevelop Hankyu Chiri store into 100,000 sqm SC
Odlo to set up in Japan
Bumper profits for Shiseido
Seiyu’s Price Lock campaign continues
Supermarket sales increase
Uniqlo in the Netherlands

Companies & Brands in this Issue

ABC Mart
Adastria
Adidas
Aeon
Ain Pharmaciez
Ainz Tulpe
Amazon
American Eagle Outfitters
Aoyama Shoji
Askul
Belle Maison
Buyma
Celford
Chaos
Charles & Keith
Chino
Cocokara Fine
Cosmos Yakuhin
Curensology
Daiso
Direx
Don Quijote
EBay
Element Rule
Elle
Facebook
Fila
Fred Segal
Fril
Fuji Yakuhin
Giosis
Gmarket
H2O Retailing
Hankyu Umeda
Hapicom
HMV
IKEA
Infosys
Instagram
Isetan Mirror
Isetan-Mitsukoshi
Ito-Yokado
J Front Retailing
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Joinus
JR Kyoto Isetan
JR West
Jumble Store
Junko Shimada
Junnu
Jupiter Shop Channel
K-Swiss
Kaden Smile Kan
Kanezawa Korinbo
Karl Lagerfeld
KDDI
Kenzo Takada
Koe
Komeri
Lanvin
Laox
Laura Mercier
Lawson
Le Talon Grise
Limited Edition
LINE
Locondo
Lohaco
Lumine
Magaseek
Maison de Reefur Girl
Majica
Mamari
Mark Styler Japan
Martin Margiela
Mash Style Lab
Matsumotokiyoshi
MEGA Don Quijote
Mi-ts Kokubunji
Ministop
Mister Minit
Mitsubishi Estate
Mitsubishi Shoji
Mujirushi Ryohin
Mycal
Nagasakiya
Nakayama
Nerd Unit
Nihon L’Oreal
Nina Ricci
Nissen
Nitori
NYX Professional Makeup
Odlo
Omakase Teikibin
Onward Holdings
Panasonic Factory Solutions
Parco
Petit Madoca
Piago
Pinterest
Qoo10
Queens Isetan
Rakuma
Rakuten
Remy Machida
Ryohin Keikaku
Seibu
Selcy
Senshukai
Sept Premieres
Serge Blanco
Seven Eleven
Shimamura
Shimizu Yakuhin
Shiseido
Shop-List
Softbank
Sogo
Sojitz Infinity
Sporsium
Start Today
Stitch Fix
Stripe International
Sugi
Sundrug
Suzuken
Takashimaya
The Suit Company
Tokyu Malls Development
Tokyu Plaza
Tokyu Square
Trial Company
Tsuruha Holdings
Uniqlo
United Arrows
Uny
Valor
Welcia Holdings
Wowma
Yahoo
Yamada Denki
Yaoko
Zozo