April 5 2022

Price rises for Japanese retail and wholesalers

Highlights from JapanConsuming monthly report

News and Analysis on Japanese retailing and consumers

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April 2022 Issue

Widespread price rises at retail and wholesale

With energy costs still rising and ongoing supply-chain issues exacerbated by the re-emergence of Covid problems in China, Japanese consumers suddenly face the prospect of genuine price inflation – as opposed to the imaginary one that the government has tried to promote for the past decade. How will they respond?

Editorial: Singles & seniors, but not the same ones

E-commerce wars intensify among the big 3 online mall platforms

Amazon Japan continues to lead in online merchandise sales and could have around 32% share of the entire market, with GTVs rising faster than Rakuten in 2021 and far ahead of Z Holdings. Nevertheless both the domestic incumbents are fighting hard to overcome their weaknesses and use their strengths in mobile networks, loyalty points and cashless payments to win share. Rakuten is also now making it possible to consolidate orders from multiple merchants on Rakuten into one shipment and wants to open this service to any online merchant – if this happens, it will be a game changer for online platforms.

Goldwin expecting record sales

Goldwin has risen to hold a leading share in outdoor wear retailing on the back of the success of The North Face and the retail and marketing skills it has developed in the process. It is now applying these to its own brand with hopes of going global.

OniGo: dark stores to ‘grey stores’

OniGo only opened its first dark store in the middle of last year, but it recently signed up to deliver orders from Lawson Store 100 and is running a trial from Comfort Market, Seven & I’s concept store in Setagaya. In both cases, online orders are picked, not by store staff, but by OniGo’s own staff, with a dedicated app used to both increase the speed of order preparation and to tie into the store’s inventory and POS systems.

Workman Shoes: ¥60 billion in sales

Workman sees an opportunity to disrupt the footwear market by creating Japan’s first national low price chain, with a strong focus on women’s shoes. It launched the first store this month with prices as low as ¥680 and expects to have 200 stores in the near future.

PPI opens specialty food stores in shopping malls

PPI has begun roll out of new, specialty food stores designed to slot into a variety of shopping malls. On the surface, these stores look like mini-Don Quijote stores, emphasising low prices and offering a dazzling density of product, but individually focused on sweets, liquor, cosmetics, or a combination of these categories. Expansion will help reach new customers, reduce the expense of opening new stores, and help with building scale for private brands.

Labour shortage to rise as retailers increase recruitment for 2023

The latest survey of retailers’ recruiting ambitions for the next year shows that, while some chains are expanding recruitment to make up for hiring freezes over Covid, drugstores and others are hiring for expansion.

Nitori: 35 years of growth

Nitori is now a world record holder, having achieved 35 straight years of sales growth and 32 of profit growth. Ever relentless, the household to clothing retailer now wants to become a global leader while also offering everything for the home in Japan.

Department stores as showrooms

Department stores are desperate to bring back shoppers, having seen sales devastated in the past two years. Fashion sales have been hit hardest and many brands are closing concessions, but rather than replace them, the big chains are rethinking their sales floors, including introducing D2C brands. The top players quickly realised that their traditional consignment sales method echoes the model used by US company B8ta and are now looking to set up showrooming areas of their own.


Single Households taking over Japan

Japan’s five-yearly population census was taken as usual in 2020 with results now available in full. The key trends of an ageing, shrinking society are reconfirmed, but the striking change over the past five years is the dramatic growth in the number of single households – people living alone. These now make up half of all households in Tokyo and Osaka and numbers are still growing. Catering to this segment will become increasingly important for many brands.

Retail Data: Stronger food sales but discretionary down


Alpen opens Shinjuku flagship with 350,000 items, lowers prices

Mitsukoshi Chiba to finally be replaced

Vuori to open in Japan

Love Bonito invests more in Japan

Stripe International seeks help from investment fund

B8ta opens 4th store, ties with Rentio

Sazaby sets up joint venture with Canada Goose

1st rise in sales in 4 years for department stores in 2021

Geek Plus robots for SME online fulfilment

Shopping mall sales down 4.4%

Daiso to open flagship in Ginza

Aeon Mall to open new outlet mall

Beams promotes Japanese craftsmanship

Swedish brand Eton comes to Japan

FTC: fees too high in cashless payments

Single-use plastic reduced, but more to be done

Isetan-Mitsukoshi: online styling service to stay

Seven & I to expand independent directors

30% of Workman apparel to use recycled materials

Ainz & Tulpe to open in Malaysia

Rakuten to open more mobile stores

Aeon trialling its own Femtech store

Yamazawa collects another SME supermarket

Major new development in Shibuya

Latest Amazon FC opens in Hyogo

Brands and Companies in this Issue

Adastria, 1, 4
Aeon, 2–3, 11
Ain Pharmaciez, 11
Alipay, 9
Alpen, 3
Amazon, 4–6, 8, 13
Amu Plaza, 21
Aoyama Shoji, 8, 11
Askul, 1, 6, 8
Asumise, 13
Au Pay, 4
B8ta, 5, 13
Baffin, 5
Bioworks, 7
Bon Curry, 1
Canada Goose, 5
CarPrice, 9
Chiyoda, 1, 9
Choosebase Shibuya, 13
Comfort Market, 8–9
Cosme Donki, 10
Cosmos Yakuhin, 3, 11
Costco, 3
Coupang, 6, 8
Crooz, 6
Daikoku Bussan, 11
Daimaru Matsuzakaya, 11, 13
Daiso Sangyo, 7
Dazzshop, 12
Didi, 6
Don Quijote, 2–3, 10
Doordash, 6
Ebay, 4
Edion, 11
Eton, 8
Fast Retailing, 11
Geek Plus, 1, 6–7
Genky, 1, 3, 11
Goldwin, 1, 7
Golf Five, 3
Green Parks, 4
Gyre Gallery, 8
Hankyu Hanshin, 11
Hizen, 8
Isetan, 1, 10, 13
Itochu, 11
Japan Post, 5–6, 12
Joinus, 21
Kagome, 1
Kakaku, 4
Kao, 3
KDDI, 12
Komeri, 1, 11
Kyocera, 13
Laketown, 5
Lalune, 12
Lawson, 8
Life Corp, 8, 11
Logos, 3
Lohaco, 6
Loppia, 3
Love Bonito, 4
Marronier Gate, 7
Melbo Mens, 11
Mitsukoshi, 1, 3, 10, 13
Muji, 1, 7
MySmartStore, 6
Nihon Chozai, 11
Nitori, 1, 11–12
Nojima, 11–12
NTT, 5, 9, 12
Omni7, 4
OniGo, 1, 8–9
Otsuka Foods, 1
Pan Pacific, 10
PPI, 1, 10
Raccoon Commerce, 1
Rakuten, 4–6, 9, 12
Rentio, 5
Ryohin Keikaku, 11
Sagawa, 5
Sazaby League, 5
Seijo Ishii, 8
Seiyu Netsuper, 5
Seven Eleven, 3, 8
Shimachu, 12
ShopList, 6
Snow Brand, 1
Snow Peak, 3, 7
Softbank, 4–6, 9, 12
Sogo Seibu, 1, 6, 13
Sojitz, 10
Spiber, 7
Sports Depo, 3
Standard Products, 7
Stripe Department, 5
Stripe International, 1, 4
Sugi Yakkyoku, 11
Sundrug, 11
Sunshine City, 9
Takashimaya, 1, 13
Threeppy, 7–8
Tigora, 3
Tokushimaru, 19
Tokyo Tatemono, 13
Tokyu Hands, 3
Tsutaya Book, 12
Uber Eats, 8–9
Uniqlo, 1
United Arrows, 1, 18
Uny, 10
Valor, 8
Vuori, 4
Walmart, 12
Welcia, 11
Wolt, 6, 9
Workman, 1, 9, 11
Yahoo, 4, 8
Yahoo Mart, 6
Yamada Denki, 12
Yamato Transport, 6
Yoneya Shoji, 13
York Foods, 8
ZHD, 4, 6
Zozo, 6


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