November 2018 Top Stories

Nov 05

FOCUS:
Don Quijote: The future Aldi of Japan?

Don Quijote will change its name to Pan Pacific International Holdings in February, reflecting both its growing number of brands, and to emphasise its plans to become a retailer with substantial operations across the Pacific Rim, including the US. At home, though, its recent acquisition of Uny, and the related relationship with Itochu Shoji, means it now has access to entirely new and larger supply routes for food. As the most successful discount retailer in Japan’s history, and one that has been dabbling with food for several years, this presents the tantalising possibility that it will now develop the first true FMCG discount format for Japan modelled on Aldi and Lidl.

Online food boom: Rakuten Walmart alliance goes live
Rakuten-Seiyu Netsuper finally went live last month, offering online food ordering and home delivery from 116 Seiyu stores across 16 prefectures, and DC and dark store fulfilment across most of Tokyo. It is the latest player in online food retailing, but given the size of the two partners involved, has real potential to challenge Amazon Fresh.

Itochu ups stake in Descente, could buy more
Itochu had a 25% stake in Descente for decades, part of its commitment to the sports firm through good times and bad. This year, it began increasing its shareholding. Descente wasn’t grateful, however, and bought in Wacoal as a white knight, but Itochu continues to buy more shares, and could soon have enough to vote out the board.

Tokyo Base to focus on 3 brands
Tokyo Base was Japan’s fastest growing fashion retailer for three years in a row and last year become the most profitable by operating margins, ahead even of Uniqlo. FY2018 has seen a sharp reversal in its fortunes, but by focusing on its two big chains and its new casual apparel concept, Public Tokyo, the fashion firm is optimistic that it will see a return to form.

Aeon: major overhaul of supermarkets, ties with Fuji
Aeon will radically restructure its entire supermarket operation over the next 18 months, merging 14 chains into the same seven regional administrations set up to run its GMS chains. The move has been a long time coming, and will lead to further integration and rationalisation of Aeon’s many supermarket subsidiaries. The group is expecting an immediate positive impact on profits.

Senshukai to axe sales and staff
Senshukai and the other former catalogue direct marketers put on a brave face when dealing with the rising threat from e-commerce. They have converted most of their own customers to the online channel, but the problem of slow, lengthy supply chains remains, resulting in out of date merchandise with poor cost performance. Senshukai is the latest to announce a major retreat.

Fashion rental services gaining ground among major retailers
Renting fashion is a growing trend among consumers, but on the business side until recently all the main players were start ups. Now big retailers like Isetan-Mitsukoshi, Renown and Aoki are getting involved, seeing rental subscriptions as a source of steady income, and appealing to the younger market in ways their stores no longer can.

Zozo: teething problems for private brand, but “remains on course”
Zozo has been losing a bit of its shine of late, with its stock price plummeting and its CEO being hammered in the press and social media for profligate spending on art and trips to the moon, and for only turning up to work three days a week. More importantly its private brand business is off to a bumpy start, a problem when Zozo expects it to account for 30% of sales in three years time.

Takashimaya and Odakyu turn suburban stores into SCs
More department stores are looking to reconfigure suburban stores as shopping centres and there is huge  potential to make competitive SCs in these generally well-located properties. Last month Takashimaya reopened its Tachikawa store with 70% of floor space given over to tenants, while Odakyu announced similar moves for its store in Machida. Isetan-Mitsukoshi, meanwhile, will focus down on its city-centre locations.

Fast Retailing unveils cutting edge logistics system
Fast Retailing unveiled new robotic automation at its largest DC in Ariake in Tokyo last month. The system is designed to cut labour costs at the DC and speed fulfilment times for online orders. It is also spending ¥100 billion over the next three years to introduce more automation across its entire supply chain, both at home and overseas.

Seven & I expecting e-commerce growth of 9% in FY2018
Seven & I says it saw online sales increase by 8.3% in the first half and expects to maintain this growth rate, forecasting 8.9% for the year overall. The netsuper operation, supplied by Ito-Yokado and York Benimaru, continues to account for around 40% of the total, but its importance is declining as sales from its other brands grow quickly.

Retail Data: Retail sales up 2.1% Department store sales drop 3%

IN BRIEF
Consumption tax hike confirmed for next year
Locondo, Magaseek ties deepen
Amazon launches Prime Wardrobe in Japan
Kintetsu diversifying through franchises
Online fashion sales up 15%
Desigual plans Japan expansion
Lumine to open 2nd overseas building
Tokyu opens Q Plaza Ikebukuro
Hero International signs Italian sports brand Kinner
The Eslite Spectrum to open in new Nihonbashi SC
Aeon unveils OPA in Hachioji
Fashion firms share logistics amidst labour shortage
Life revenues up
Optimism in the fashion sector
Profits at ABC Mart up 4.1%
Japanese are rational luxury shoppers, growth still likely
Rakuten Superpoints available just by visiting a Lawson store
Japan Weather Association helping supermarkets forecast demand
Urban Research: 30% of online sales from shop staff styling tips
Nitori opens largest business furniture showroom so far
Aeon grabs more Chugoku Retailers

Brands and Retailers in this Issue
ABC Cooking Studio
ABC Mart
Adastria
Aeon
Agility Research
Akachan Honpo
Aldi
Amazon
Aoki Holdings
Apita
Asos
Beams
Belle Maison
Bic Camera
Bio C’Bon
Body Shop
Boohoo
Brodon
Carite
CCC
Circle K Sunkus
Crooz
CW-X
DAC
Daiei
Daifuku
Desigual
DOit
Don Quijote
Ebay
Eslite Spectrum
Familymart
Fast Retailing
Fujitsu
Helmut Lang
Hero International
Isetan-Mitsukoshi
Ito-Yokado
Itochu Shoji
Itochu Shokuhin
Izumi
Izumiya
JR East
Junkudo
Kasumi
Kintetsu
Kobe Bussan
Kyoyasudo
Lalaport
Lawson
Lidl
Life Corp
Locondo
Loft
Lohaco
Loppi
Lumine
Madam Joy
Magaseek
Maruetsu
Marukai
Matsuya
Maxvalu
Mechakari
Mega Don Quijote
Meidiya
Michidonki
Mitsubishi
Mitsui
Nagasakiya
Neopasa
Nippon Access
Nissen
Nitori
NTT Docomo
Odakyu
OPA
Otsuka Kagu
Pal Group
Pan Pacific International
Parco
Picard
Picasso
Public Tokyo
Qoo10
Rakuten
Renown
Right On
RIZAP
Seijo Ishii
Seiyu
Senshukai
Seven Eleven
Shimamura
Sizer
Stripe International
Sustina
T-Site
Takashimaya
The Eslite Spectrum
Tokyo Base
Tokyo Central
Tokyu
Tokyu Hands
True Data
TSI Holdings
Tsutaya
Uniqlo
United Arrows
United Super Market Holdings
United Tokyo
Uny-Familymart Holdings
Urban Research
Wacoal
Walmart
Welcia Holdings
World
Yamada Denki
York Benimaru
Yurinbo
Zozo

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