January 5 2023

Tourists flock back to Japanese stores

Highlights from JapanConsuming monthly report

News and Analysis on Japanese retailing and consumers

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December 2022 Issue

Domestic tourism surges back to life as inbound traffic rises

The long awaited lifting of restrictions on inbound tourists in October seems to have given new confidence to domestic tourists too. Major airlines, hotels and railways are all reporting a significant uplift in bookings with several forecasting that figures will exceed 2019 by March next year. Now all Japan needs is for Chinese tourists to be allowed out.

Editorial: Best ever Christmas ever

Nitori to open 30 N+ clothing stores a year to build scale

Nitori dominates in home decor and furniture but now wants to become a top 10 fashion retailer through its N+ chain targeting older women. It will raise the rate of new stores to 30 a year and then to up to 100 a year as it reaches scale. Will it be the Uniqlo for the middle-aged?

Zozo to open styling store in Omotesando, increase retail ties

Zozo may be the leading online fashion mall but it has spent the last two years using its power to drive more traffic to its merchants’ physical stores. Its latest service allows stores to sell stock held at Zozo’s fulfilment centre when they themselves have sold out and thus avoid lost sales opportunities. Zozo itself, meanwhile, will open a physical store in Omotesando but one entirely devoted to styling services for its customers.

Yodobashi to become top 10 retailer in Sogo Seibu deal with Fortress

Although there are some points to iron out, Fortress Investment is reportedly in the final stages of negotiation to purchase Sogo Seibu from Seven & I, with Yodobashi Camera as its partner. This is an exciting move for Yodobashi as it should be an excellent choice to leverage Sogo Seibu’s better locations. Even so, some stores will no longer have a future under their existing banners and the acquisition will mark the final demise of a 170 year old brand and company.

Air Closet expands home category

Air Closet started renting out clothes in 2014 but from last year began expanding into furniture, kitchenware, gadgets and even corporate uniforms. The business has attracted considerable brand support thanks to the opportunity for consumers to test brands before buying them outright.

Companies fight to keep staff with inflation allowances as prices rise

While the government and some economists still claim to be optimistic that Japan’s 40-year high inflation rate is both temporary and of little concern, households continue to grapple with the impact on their wallets. The government has introduced its latest stimulus plan to help in the short-term, simultaneously hoping it will encourage more babies, while companies are looking at special allowances rather than higher wages. The only question is just how long this situation will last.

Takashimaya and H2O cancel tie-up

Takashimaya and H2O Retailing entered what felt like a forced engagement of convenience in 2008 when all their other competitors were busy merging, generating questions from investors about their own plans to scale up. With both firms now more secure and cross-shareholdings more problematic, they will sell off their equity in each other but continue to work on joint projects.

Mash sells to Bain, aims for IPO

Mash Holdings, the retailer behind brands such as Gelato Pique and Cosme Kitchen, agreed to a takeover by Bain Capital last month and now says it will aim to list on the TSE within the next five years. If the plan works, more Japanese fashion firms may be scooped up by private equity.

Green Lawson: more eco and avatars 

Lawson introduced a new store format in Tokyo last month called Green Lawson, touting new ways to save energy and reduce waste. The new store also features an early version of a retail advertising system that emulates Familymart Vision.

Donki expands private label, even adding mini freezers

Don Quijote stores now offer several new private brand cosmetics ranges and new electronics, including a new small footprint freezer. The company is forecasting consolidated sales of ¥1.89 trillion in the year to June 2023, with 15% of domestic sales from private brands alone.

Honeys: sweet in a downturn

Honeys is proving a resilient provider of low-cost women’s basic fashions. While it struggled after losing the fickle younger fan base five years ago, Honeys has bounced back through careful control of costs that has kept prices down.

Manufacturers cut back ranges to save costs

Japan is known for the huge array of brands and products available to customers everywhere, not least in FMCG. Nikkei tracks more than 35,000 products on sale right now, but with costs increasing, a number of major manufacturers are cutting lines and reducing new product launches. This leaves a gap for others to jump into.

FOCUS:

Shopping mall review: back to 2019 levels by the end of 2022

After the record decline in both sales and new malls in 2020, the shopping mall sector saw a return to better trading and development in 2021. But the sector remained far behind previous years. Sales were still 20% lower than 2019 and new mall numbers at 70% less than the decade average. 2022 has been much, much better, however, and it is likely that monthly sales will start to return to 2019 levels by the end of the year. With more new malls coming online and more domestic and foreign travel, the potential for a strong push into 2023 looks high.

IN BRIEF

Seria profit to fall on low Yen and rising costs

Heineken to end Kirin partnership

Isetan-Mitsukoshi upgrades sales forecast

Tokyu unveils SC at Omotesando/Meiji Dori

Familymart gets serious about clothing

Amazon merchants average ¥10m in sales

Workman confirms profit hit from rising costs

TV Tokyo expands golf sales through Atomic Golf purchase

Lululemon opens in Aoyama

Tokyo Base retreats

Bookstore numbers decline but improve

Mercari breaks 3 billion items

Parco to open again in Kumamoto

Beisia opens new fresh food supermarket chain

Ecocycle sets up in Japan

H&M to open 117th store

Baby numbers fall again

Yamato: over 7,000 e-commerce delivery points

DHC acquired by Orix

Goldwin adds camping and e-bikes

Auto key systems better than delivery boxes

Chataraise expecting 20% more Christmas cake

Baroque improves at home, suffers in China

IKEA introduces automated warehouse

Restructuring at Lawson in China

Retail Data: October sales up on commuter and tourist return

Brands and Companies in this Issue

Adastria, 1, 3, 10, 12
Aeon, 3, 15
Aeon Mall, 14, 17–19
Air Closet, 1, 7
Air Flake, 5
Aircromall, 7
Ajinomoto, 13
Amazon, 5–7
Anker, 7
Atomic Golf, 6
AuPay, 6
Bain Capital, 10
Baroque Limited, 12
Baycrews, 12
Beisia, 8
Bell International, 12
Bic Camera, 6
Bitkey, 11
BiVi, 16
Bunkitsu, 7
Canada Goose, 10
Celford, 10
Chataraise, 12
Cosme Kitchen, 10
Cosparade, 12
Daiei, 13
Daimaru, 1, 5
Daiso, 3
Daiwa House, 16–18
Dangan7, 6
Delicia, 10
DHC, 10
Doddle, 10
Don Quijote, 11
Dream Nagashima, 16
Dyson, 7
Ecocycle, 8–9
Familymart, 4–5, 10–11
Fortress Investment, 5
Fukaya, 14
Gelato Pique, 10
Genky, 1
Goldwin, 11
GR8, 9
Grandberry Park, 17–18
Green Lawson, 1, 10–11
H2O, 1, 9
Hankyu Hanshin, 9, 17–18
Heineken, 3
Hermes, 7
Honeys Holdings, 12
IKEA, 13
Instapump Fury, 4
Isetan, 1, 3–4
Ishii Sports, 5
Itochu Shoji, 4, 12
JAL, 1
Japan Post, 11, 16
Jazz Dream, 17–18
Kansai Supermarket, 9
Karuizawa Prince, 15–18
Kintetsu, 6
Kirin, 3
Komatsu, 5
Komeri, 1
Konandai Birds, 17–18
Laforet Harajuku, 4, 16
Lalaport Aichi, 15, 17–18
Lawson, 10–11, 13
Lazona Kawasaki, 16–18
Le Creuset, 7
Leilian, 3
Loewe, 7
Loft, 5
Louis Vuitton, 7
Lucua, 16–18
Lululemon Athletica, 6
Lumine, 16
Lumine Est, 3, 15–18, 20
Mallage Shobu, 17–18
Mariott, 16
Marui, 10
Maruman, 6
Maruzen Junkudo, 7
Mash Holdings, 10
MEIJI, 4
Mercari, 7–8, 10
Midland Square, 15–18
Mila Owen, 10
Mister Minute, 8
Mitsubishi Estate, 16–18
Mitsui Fudosan, 10, 16–18
Mitsukoshi, 1–2, 4
Morinaga Milk, 13
Moussy, 12
Mozo Wonder, 17–18
Mr Max, 9
Muji, 1, 7
Nankai Railways, 17–18
Narita Airport, 15, 17–18
Niaulab, 4
Nintendo, 8
Nippon Ham, 13
Nippon Shuppan, 7
Nippon Suisan, 13
Nisshin Seifun, 13
Nitori, 1, 3
Nomura Fudosan, 19
Odakyu, 3, 17–18
Orix, 10
Panasonic, 7
Parco, 8, 19
PPI, 11–12
Premium Outlets, 14
PUDO, 10
Rakuten, 6–7
Ralph Lauren, 4
Realmax, 6
Recof, 10
Reebok, 4
Rentio, 7
Saison Seibu, 5
Sanyo, 8
Seibu, 5–6
Seibu Railway, 16
Seibu Saison, 5
Seijo Ishii, 11, 13
Seria, 3
Shimamura, 1, 10, 12–13
Shiseido, 8
Sly, 12
Snidel, 10
Softbank, 5
Sogo, 5
Sojitsu, 17–18
Standard Products, 3
Studious, 6
Stussy, 9
Subsclife, 7
Sumitomo Shoji, 7
Takashimaya, 1, 9
Takashimaya Tachikawa, 9
TMD, 17–18
Tobu, 3, 6–7
Tokyo Base, 6
Tokyo Tatemono, 17–18
Tokyu Corp, 16
Toshin Kaihatsu, 17–18
Toyota, 8, 16
Tsuruha, 1
Uber Eats, 11
Uniqlo, 1, 3, 12
United Arrows, 1
United Tokyo, 6
Uny Mall, 20
Workman, 1, 5–6, 12–13
Xymax Properties, 17–18
Yahoo, 6
Yamada Denki, 6
Yamato Transport, 8, 10
Yodobashi Camera, 5–6
YouTube, 4
Zozo, 1, 4

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