June Top Stories

Jun 07

Apparel groups respond to crisis
2020 was an annus horribilis for the apparel sector, and particularly for wholesale-centred firms. The good news is that most have come out of the crisis energised, with new ideas about how to save their businesses and some even think they can expand again through e-commerce and diversification beyond apparel.

Editorial: Saving money or the economy

Staff Start jumps three-fold
Staff Start is a phenomenon. What started as a simple digital tool to help retailers post blogs online has become a full-service marketing platform used by more than 1,200 brands and retailers across fashion, food, home and sports. Staff blogging has become a vital tool for many retailers, with one claiming 40% of direct online sales come from staff generated online content.

More diversification to come as Nitori chases ¥1 trillion
Nitori had its 34th straight year of record results in FY2020 – and that’s before it has even begun to integrate its recent acquisition of Shimachu. Last month, the largest furniture retailer confirmed further expansion into fashion and a new IKEA-like restaurant concept due to roll out in many of its larger stores. It also plans to open more stores overseas after a pause in 2020.

Lindt crowns stellar decade with new flagship
Lindt used to be just another premium chocolate brand sold in supermarkets and department stores until the Swiss firm decided to invest in a unique store and cafe chain. 10 years and 64 stores later, it shows no sign of slowing down.

Leading supermarkets have a great year but gap widens
All leading supermarkets saw sales improve in FY2020 as shoppers stayed away from competing formats and profits also surged. However, while the changes confirmed stability among the largest companies and a handful of medium-sized chains, the sudden surge in profits among low-margin chains could be short-lived once shoppers become more mobile again and return to other options for their food needs.

Nippon Access: comeback planned after poor FY2020
Supermarkets may have seen good results last year, but food wholesalers were not so lucky, particularly those that rely on convenience store clients. Nippon Access is one of the largest, but falling sales at Familymart meant its profits slumped. The company is now planning a rapid come back, including developing end-to-end online sales channels linking food manufacturers and retailers.

Marui to invest ¥80 billion over 5 years in FinTech & Buildings
Having completed the transition from department store concessions, Marui is planning to upgrade many of its shopping buildings to become meeting places as much as shopping emporiums over the next few years but its consumer credit business will still be the main source of profits.

Snow Peak surges on camping boom
The camping and outdoor boom continues and, while many brands and retailers are benefiting across both mass and premium markets, Snow Peak has achieved almost cult status.

Department store closures devastating local cities
Total department store numbers fell from 281 in 2008 to just 199 by March this year. The hope that many of these properties would find new life as shopping buildings is now looking far less likely and, with Covid worsening the problem, an accelerated hollowing out of central retail areas looks unavoidable in many small cities.

Workman targets 1,500 stores
Workman continues its relentless expansion and plans to reduce the number of its original Workman stores to just 200 while investing heavily in its consumer-oriented chain, including its new Joshi format targeting women.

FOCUS
Who Owns Who: concentration levels accelerate in retail, with far more to come
Japan’s retail and distribution sector has long been seen as fragmented, even to the point of being accused of inefficiency. On the surface, concentration levels do remain low, but scratch that surface and a very different picture emerges. By format and by category sector, larger companies are taking increasing share and, over the past five years, this trend has accelerated. Now, given the pressures of Covid, there is ample opportunity for stronger players to gain ground by buying out weaker ones, while some mid-level companies are joining together, hoping to become a fish too big to swallow. Business tie-ups are also increasing in number, particularly as physical retailers seek to bring in and learn skills necessary to succeed in e-commerce and to build omnichannel models.

Retail Data: Dept. stores up 167% in April, 28% down on 2019

IN BRIEF
Backmarket comes to Japan
Major redevelopment planned for Tokyu Shibuya
Goldwin expects 10% growth in 2021, carbon neutral by 2030
J Front sells Neuve A
H&M ties with Air Closet
No one buys luxury more than once a year
New shopping mall for Shimo-Kitazawa
Ralph Lauren to open pop up store in Ginza
Cocokara Fine struggles with Covid and merger
Lalaport to open in Sakai in 2022
Daikanyama to get new mall in 2023
Convenience stores struggle but signs of recovery
Seven & I hits a snag with American acquisition
Fast Retailing more welcoming to disabled customers
27th Bio C’Bon Store opens in Musashi Koyama
Aeon working with Toyota to improve logistics
Itochu Shoji acquires Barbie license
Kokubu to close convenience stores by 2022
Edwin closes 4 subsidiaries in Akita prefecture due to sluggish jeans sales
Live Commerce expanding rapidly but still unfamiliar to many
Decathlon does wholesale and popup stores
Wacoal invests in omnichannel
Seiyu to expand food donations in Kyushu

Brands and Businesses in this Issue

Adastria, 1, 5-6, 15-18
Aeon, 1, 7-8, 12, 16
Akachan Honpo, 15-16
Aldi, 12
Alibaba, 12-13
Amazon, 9, 13, 15, 17
Anap, 17
Another Address, 6
Anteprima Japan, 17
Aoyama Shoji, 15, 18
Barebones, 11
Baroque Japan, 15, 17
Baycrews, 5, 14-18
Bayflow, 5
Beams Design, 5
Bershka, 11
Big Yosun, 12
Bonwe, 11
Bshop, 17
Bulgari Hotel, 8
Burberry, 16
Buyma, 17
Camp7, 5
Cawachi Yakuhin, 1
Cecile, 15
Chloe, 4
ChooseBase, 5
Christophe Lemaire, 10
Coca Cola, 7-8
Cosmos Yakuhin, 3, 13
CouCou, 8
Cox, 7
Crooz, 17
Cross Plus, 16, 18
Cyber Agent, 11
Daidoh Forward, 18
Daiei, 7, 12
Daimaru Matsuzakaya, 6
Daiso Sangyo, 8
Daytona International, 11, 15
DCM, 7
Deco Home, 5
Descente, 15-16
Dinos, 15
Disney, 8
Don Quijote, 12
Dricos, 6
Elleair, 9
Esprit, 11
Faans, 4-5
Fabric Tokyo, 6
Familia, 17-18
Fashionwalker, 17
Fast Retailing, 1, 10, 16
Fauchon, 8
Five Foxes, 16
Flowplateaux, 9
Gamble Japan, 8
Gap, 11
Genky, 1
Global Brain, 6
Goldwin, 15-16
Gordon Brothers, 3
GU, 10, 15
Gunze, 15-16
Gurunavi, 13
Hankyu Hanshin, 15-16, 18
Helinox, 11
HEP, 19
Hirota Apparel, 16
Honeys, 15-16
IGA, 17-18
Inageya, 12
Inditex, 11
Insein, 6
Isetan, 1
Izumi, 1, 13
Japan Post, 9-10, 15, 18
Jil Sander, 4, 10
JINS, 16
Jo Malone, 4
Joinus, 19
Joix Corp, 17-18
Jun, 11, 15-19
Jupiter Shop, 15
Keihan Mall, 19
Kimuratan, 17
Kohnan Shoji, 12
Komeri, 1
Koti, 11
Kuroneko Innovation, 6
Lakore, 5
Laura Ashley, 3
Lawson, 12
Lazada, 12
Leilian, 16, 18
Lina Stores, 8
Locondo, 9, 15, 17
Look Holdings, 15
Lumine, 15
Magaseek, 15, 17
Maison Margiela, 4
Marui, 11, 15, 18
Mash Holdings, 11, 15-17
Maxvalu Tokai, 7
Maxvalu West, 7
Medicom Toy, 11
Meitetsu Department, 11
Mercari, 15
Milleporte, 18
Ministop, 7
Mitsui Fudosan, 8
Mizuho, 10
Moony, 9
Muji, 1, 8
MyLord, 19
Nano Universe, 16
Narumiya Int, 16-18
Natural Coordinate, 8
Nishimatsuya Chain, 1
Nitori, 1, 5-6, 8
Ocado, 8
Old Navy, 11
Onward Holdings, 15-16, 18
Pal Group, 15-18
Pampers, 9
Parco, 6
PayPay, 4, 10, 15, 17-18
Peacebird, 11
Plus Heart, 8
Pola, 4
Qoo10, 17
Rakuten, 6, 9, 13, 15, 17-18
Ryohin Keikaku, 15-17
Samantha Thavasa, 15, 17-18
Sanyo Shokai, 15-18
Seibu, 6
Semir, 11
Seven Eleven, 7, 13
Shimamura, 1, 15
Softbank, 17-18
Sompteux, 8
Studio Atao, 17
Stylevoice, 1, 11
Sugi Yakkyoku, 11
Takashimaya, 1, 3-4, 8
Tencent, 10
Theory, 10
Threeppy, 8
Tmall International, 12
Tokyo Base, 15-18
Tokyo Midtown, 8
Topvalu, 8, 12
TSI, 15-18
Tsuruha, 1, 3
Uber Eats, 12
Unicharm, 9
Uniqlo, 1, 5, 10, 14-16, 18
United Arrows, 1, 11, 15-18
Uny, 12
Uny Mall, 19
Urban Research, 15-17
USMH, 7
Valor, 13
Wacoal, 15, 18
Walt Disney, 11
Wego, 15
Welcia, 3, 7-8
Wolt, 12
Yahoo, 17
Yamato Transport, 6
YouMe, 13
Zozo, 1, 4-6, 9, 11, 14-18

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