FOCUS: Convenience stores still innovating in saturated market
The convenience store sector may have reached saturation but this has just encouraged the top three operators to speed up their quest to take over the remaining smaller chains, while pushing into regions where they have fewer stores. All had previously failed to come up with coherent e-commerce strategies but, this year Seven Eleven and Lawson have launched new ideas that make the best use of their existing store networks and could reach national coverage quite soon. Diversification is another strategy to overcome saturation, and Familymart in particular is tying with all manner of partners to try and come up with a hit hybrid format to find new growth. While competition from drugstores and discount food retailers is a threat, convenience stores will continue to be a source of new retail trends.
IKEA: small store rollout to start in Harajuku
IKEA Japan is following its parent company’s international strategy of opening smaller stores and expanding e-commerce. The first small store in Japan is now confirmed and will open in a high profile location in Harajuku. With the correct design and positioning, it should help IKEA Japan back onto a higher growth path.
Editorial: Convenience stores: always evolving
Godiva Japan up for sale
Mid-November brought the surprise news that Godiva’s Japanese business was being put up for sale. Godiva is arguably one of the biggest success stories of any international brand in Japan, particularly in the luxury food category.
Goldwin tops sports market growth through store investment
Marketing of sports brands has become increasingly retail-led in the last decade and a focus on retailing has enabled Goldwin to make serious gains while the two biggest domestic brands, Asics and Mizuno, have been distracted by overseas expansion. Goldwin took a close look at its beleaguered business 15 years ago and decided retail could be its salvation. At current rates it will catch up with Mizuno’s domestic sales in a few years.
Jeansmate posts profit, up for sale?
While Rizap has seen its share price crash and its CEO bow in apology after profit warnings and a plan to cut back on M&A, Jeansmate, which Rizap acquired last year, has quickly moved to overhaul supply chains and modernise stores. It has just replaced its Shibuya store with a new concept called JEM that could mean the end of the Jeansmate name altogether, and posted its first operating profit years.
Top retailers outperform in first half
Leading retail chains across all the major formats had a strong 1H2018 with surprisingly few exceptions. Although some saw operating profits fall, and most of those that did expect profits to be lower for the year as a whole, other results were particularly impressive given the difficult operating conditions this year due to weather and natural disasters.
10% of households use netsupers, but only for heavy items
A recent survey suggests around 75% of consumers shop online at least once a month, but only around 10% use netsupers– online orders from supermarkets that are picked in stores. This timely survey confirms why more and more firms are gearing up for direct online food sales as the netsuper model becomes less relevant.
Belluna: proving catalogue marketing can still work
While Nissen and Senshukai have hit new lows in the past five years, Belluna has gone from strength to strength by sticking with printed catalogues by tying these to e-commerce and retail store expansion. It also helps that its core customer is women over 40, one of the few growing population segments.
Lawson doubles coverage for Loppick online food sales
Lawson Fresh Pick is the convenience store operator’s new e-commerce solution for food. Unlike competing services, it offers just 600 SKUs, all fresh foods, and no home delivery, only click-and-collect. In the nine months since launch, the service has expanded from 200 to 1,200 stores, currently concentrated in west Tokyo and Kanagawa. It is a model that could easily expand rapidly across the rest of the country.
GU: more basics
Fast Retailing’s number two brand, GU, will expand standardised basics to around 60% of sales. This will reposition it closer to its larger sister chain, Uniqlo, at least in terms of product, with the risk that this could lead to cannibalisation. Last month also saw the unveiling of a new showrooming store, the start of a push to generate 30% of sales from online in the medium term.
Retail Data: Retail sales climb 3.5% in October
GU does showrooming
Women’s fashion footwear chain Randa up 10%
Workman Plus is a hit
Sazaby League to launch SPA chain and pharmacy/cafe hybrid
Sogo Yokohama completes 4,500 sqm beauty and cosmetics floors
Suit retailers in the red
Oisix expecting higher profits this year
Don Quijote to double brand more Uny stores, sales up 12% in 1Q2019
FrancFranc launches new chain, opens Room Cosme pop-up store
New casual fashion chain from Stripe International coming next Spring
27% of over 55s prefer online shopping
Aoyama expands clothing rentals
The Haneda House
Slowear opens first stand-alone store
Otsuka Kagu operating loss deepens as sales fall
Summit moves into smaller, city-centre formats
Isetan Matsudo site to open as Kite Mite mall in April
Korean fashion brand Rola Rola comes to Japan
First Rakuten Food Selection promo boosts online supermarket
Yaoko opens new HQ, targets ¥1 trillion sales
PLANT opens 300 Yen Shop
Uniqlo in Italy
Brands and Retailers mentioned in this issue
Adidas Brand Core Store
BST Blue Standard
Circle K Sunkus
Craft Standard Boutique
J Front Retailing
JR Service Net
Kashiyama The Smart Tailor
Keio Department Store
Le Coq Sportif
NTT Toshi Kaihatsu
Sagami Group Holdings
Seico Fresh Foods
The North Face
Get a concise monthly update on Japanese Consumer Markets – and a FREE copy of our monthly report.