July-August Issue 2019
The Complete Retail Review and Ranking 2018-19: profit growth slowing as marketing competition increases
Leading retailers grew sales and share last year and made more money too. Although savings rates rose to their highest level ever in 2018, this also meant that a lot of households had money stored up, providing better retailers and brands with an opportunity to convince them to spend some of it. Many formats and sectors had a good year including convenience stores, discount chains, drugstores, speciality chains such as in fashion and even consumer electronics (at least for now), but some also contracted, notably GMS chains and department stores. Retailing also became a lot more profitable last year, up 6% on average for the top 250 retailers, and is expected to grow profits further on the back of new technologies wrought by the pressures of the labour shortage.
American Eagle Outfitters enters buyout talks with Aoyama Shoji
American Eagle Outfitters looked to have a promising future when it first decided to enter the Japanese market but when it arrived in 2010 its partner was the men’s suits retailer, Aoyama Shoji. After 9 years of continuous losses, Aoyama wants to quit and hand over to the US firm. For American Eagle Outfitters, there is an opportunity even if the American casual trend has waned somewhat. For Aoyama, diversification is key if it is to find growth in a contracting businesswear market and closing down its casual fashion business won’t help.
Editorial: One more year – guaranteed
Walmart committed to Japan – will relist soon
Walmart says it will relist its Japanese business soon, putting to rest widespread speculation that it was about to sell off its Japan operations. The company announced a new mid-term plan based on refreshed stores, expanding private brand lines and, much more intriguingly, investing in its new joint business with Rakuten online – its first real chance to expand nationally.
Uniqlo’s first female CEO gets the job of slowing the fall
Uniqlo appointed its first female CEO last month, making Maki Akaida the only woman to lead one of Japan’s top retail companies. Akaida has a strong leadership record over almost 20 years at the retailer,and has the confidence of founder and chairman, Tadashi Yanai. Her appointment comes as the chain is adjusting to a shrinking market at home and the start of a major shift in storestrategy.
Urban Research to launch new chain with Familymart
So far the details are sparse but the plan for a new store format that marries the skills of such different retailers as fashion select shop Urban Research and Familymart convenience stores is intriguing.
J Front aims high with new builds in Shibuya and Shinsaibashi
J Front is one of the few department store-centred retail groups that isnot only willing to invest in new and upgraded facilities but, so far, is investing intelligently and with a clear understanding of who it is targeting. Even so, the upcoming Parco Shibuya and Daimaru Shinsaibashi buildings come with a lot of new ideas that will make or break its reputation.
Japanese distributors buy fashion assets overseas
A strengthening Yen is providing a window of opportunity for Japanese fashion firms Sazaby League and Look to take control of key overseas assets from which they derive lucrative revenue streams in Japan.
Seiyu and Rakuten run droneSeiyu and Rakuten, which jointly operate a very promising new e-commerce food channel, will spend the summer trying to fly ice cream and cold beer to frolicking customers.
Amazon takes control of deliveries
With Yamato increasing its delivery prices over the past two years, Amazon Japan has built independent delivery systems to avoid relying on the big courier services. It already has nine regional delivery providers in place and is rolling out the Amazon Flex model, allowing individual drivers to become Amazon couriers on their own time.
If you sell cosmetics, food, household goods and even the odd fleece, the Japanese drugstore sector is a key channel. The sector has been consolidating for a decade led by Tsuruha, Aeon’s Welcia subsidiary and Sundrug, which have taken the top three spots ahead of the long-time leader Matsumotokiyoshi. Last month the latter tried to retake its pole position by opening negotiations to buy seventh-ranked Cocokara Fine. A few days later, however, sixth-ranked Sugi began its own negotiations. A three-way merger is one solution but whatever the outcome of the Cocokara Fine deal, further consolidation will occur in Japan’s drugstore sector and M&A will be a key strategy to make this happen.
Baroque: ¥100 billion in sales in 5 years…maybe
There is nothing unusual about what Baroque Japan sells: fashion for young women through brands like Moussy, Sly and Azul by Moussy, as well as Enfold, a chain targeting women in their 30s. Baroque is, however, one of the few Japanese fashion retailers owned by a Chinese firm – it was acquired by China’s Belle International from CLSA in 2013. Since then there has been much talk of making Baroque a true pan-Asian fashion retailer, but so far there is little sign of this happening and not much growth at home.
Retail Data: Savings continue to soar
Lanvin closes Japan office
Onward finds success in shopping centres and e-commerce
Belluna launches online fashion mall
Artek opens store in Omotesando
Muji discounts 1,100 products
Yodobashi building 200 tenant SC at Umeda Tower
Shimamura down again
Amazon Japan marketplace SME sales hit ¥900 billion
Latest Yaoko store expands e-commerce options in Saitama
Wacoal planning growth at home and overseas
Achilles plans big push for Brooks running shoes
Birkenstock stops sales to ABC Mart over design infringement
Fashion industry bonuses on the rise
Church’s footwear opens in Yurakucho
Seicomart working with JTB
Seven Eleven gearing up for Okinawa entry
Laox gets capitalinjection from Chinese parent
Muji to open new convenience store format on university campuses
Maxvalu Kyushu opens The Big In Kurume Suwano
Aeon Pet and Snow Peak tie to target dog owners
Oisix announces major share issue
Familymart & Seven Eleven introduce prepaid payment apps
BRANDS and RETAILERS in this Issue
Abercrombie & Fitch
American Eagle Outfitters
Circle K Sunkus
Culture Convenience Club
J Front Retailing
Kashiyama The Smart Tailor
Kintetsu Department Store
Kusuri No Aoki
Le Coq Sportif
MM6 Martin Margiela
Oisix Ra Daichi
Seibu Saison Group
United Super Markets