October 16 2023

Low cost apparel on the rise while luxury booms

Highlights from JapanConsuming monthly report

News and Analysis on Japanese retailing and consumers

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October 2023 Issue

Low cost apparel sales keep rising: Shimamura aims for ¥800 billion

Price consciousness remains high among most consumers at present, a boost to low-cost apparel retailers like Shimamura, which has posted three straight years of growth. But when price is the main driver, competition from the likes of Shein and Temu becomes a growing problem, so even Shimamura is trying to add value through branding, collaborations and Shein-like supply chains.

To see more articles about Shimamura, check this page.

Eddie Bauer begins store rollout

Itochu and its partner, Mizujin, have big plans for Eddie Bauer’s relaunch, hoping to create a major new lifestyle chain for 30s and 40s consumers.

LVMH considers future in Ikebukuro

Yodobashi Camera is reported to be planning new stores in Seibu Ikebukuro, Sogo Chiba and the annex of Seibu Shibuya. In a rare interview, the president of LVMH Japan noted the importance of these and other department stores for LVMH brands and hoped that Sogo Seibu’s new owners would consult their stores’ current tenants. The same sentiments were repeated by local business leaders in Toshima.

Seijo Ishii producing at home to beat inflation and weak Yen

Seijo Ishii is Japan’s leading premium supermarket chain with some 200 stores. After strong growth during Covid, sales have now flattened and the company’s large import business has suffered from higher costs due to the weak Yen and global crises. To maintain its market position, it is reducing imports of packaged goods and increasing volumes of imported, high-end raw materials – and then manufacturing products itself.

Aeon’s Green Beans aiming to change shopping habits

Aeon’s new online food store, Green Beans, continues to expand, aiming to offer around 50,000 SKUs from its first warehouse once it reaches full capacity. It also wants to encourage weekly shopping in bulk. This is an uncommon idea in a market where most households still buy food several times a week if not daily, but it may work well in a society that is busier than ever.

Solving the 2024 logistics problem

The so-called 2024 problem will cause significant disruption to logistics in Japan. Already, companies that move product by road, and particularly those working in e-commerce, are working hard to come up with solutions to reduce the impact of the new rules. For the more resource rich companies, their efforts could even lead to more efficient supply-chains in the long run and customers may begin to understand that immediate gratification through fast delivery isn’t always ideal.

Mash plans lifestyle branding for UK’s Barbour

Although Mash is better known for its lifestyle chains like Gelato Pique and Cosme Kitchen, it has recently launched a licensing division to acquire names such as Barbour and Sesame Street and turn them into lifestyle retail brands.

Ryohin Keikaku acquires Mitsubishi Shoji Fashion unit

Ryohin Keikaku has acquired a large team from one of its principle clothing supply partners, Mitsubishi Shoji Fashion, in a bid to finally streamline its supply chains and improve cost performance in clothing – even as it moves further into the food market.

Takashimaya Shinjuku close to record sales

Takashimaya Shinjuku used to be famous for making annual losses since launch in 1996 but, recently, it has posted much stronger growth and will reach a new record this year.

Seven & I plans first SIP store by February

Seven & I is planning a new mini-supermarket format (which, it says, is not a mini-supermarket) combining knowhow from Seven Eleven and Ito-Yokado. The first is due to open by the end of February, and Seven & I hopes that these so-called SIP stores will be its next big thing.

¥20 trillion Rakuten card payments

Rakuten leads the e-commerce sector in cross-use of services in its ecosystem. Rakuten Card is central to this ecosystem, linking the popular Rakuten Pay and Points programmes with Rakuten Ichiba and Travel.

Zozo clothing goes virtual

Zozo Next launched Revinal over the summer, a digital range of clothing designed for the virtual world. Although seemingly very gimmicky and niche, Zozo claims the global market for virtual clothes is growing rapidly – and prices suggest it’s probably correct.

Fashion Sector 2022-23: recovery complete for some as the sector looks forward

Parts of the fashion and apparel sector made a complete recovery to 2019 levels last year. However, behind the headline numbers, performance was patchy, with startlingly high rates of growth from a few big retailers and some promising smaller businesses, but for the majority, sales remained below 2019. 2023 should be a stellar year thanks to inbound tourism growth and healthier, if still hesitant, domestic demand. While profitability rose significantly, the pressure to keep prices down is widening the gap between efficient operators and the rest. The sector continues to see a drop in store numbers, but this is a positive sign as sales per store have jumped and omnichannel models have taken hold, including new ideas around zero inventory, custom ordering, and Staff Commerce.

Retail Data: City malls surge in summer heat


Temu and Shein spark concerns over cross-border e-commerce
J Front sells Plaza chain stake
Yokohama plans “world class” theme park and mall
Former Niigata Mitsukoshi to be redeveloped
OK Super to open in Ginza
Ito-Yokado cutting 20% of stores
Asics ties with French brand Corte
Most consumers still prefer shopping for interiors in stores
Heiwado to acquire Maruzen in Shiga
World ties with Beisia on 50 store clothing chain
Amazon to open first sorting centre in Japan
Mitsubishi starts work on Japan’s tallest tower
malls up 12.2% in August
unmanned Familymart in Osaka
Uniqlo sells used clothing
Staff Start improves service with AI
Aeon merges two supermarket subsidiaries
Another park becomes a mall
AI making up for experience
JR East to redevelop Nakano Station
Shibuya becoming top tourist hub
Biometric payments at Tobu
Unmanned gyoza stores everywhere
Former Sogo Seibu store sold to Mitsui Fudosan
Latest Rakuten DC opens in Osaka
Trial acquires Satocho stores in Aomori

Brands and Companies in this Issue

Adastria, 1, 7, 10, 14, 16–19
Aeon, 7, 9–10, 12, 19
Aeon Kyushu, 17
Aeon Retail, 1, 7, 17
Alphonse Mucha, 9
Amazon, 7, 9, 13
Aoki Holdings, 17–18
Aomori Shokuten, 13
Aoyama Shoji, 17, 19
Appliv Topics, 13
Arnold Palmer, 4
Asahi, 4
Askul, 1
Atre, 11
Authentic Brands, 4
Avail, 1, 3
Barneys Japan, 17
Baroque Japan, 17–19
Baycrews, 17, 19
Beams Design, 3
Beisia, 7
Belluna, 17
Bowa, 3
Cainz, 7
Cawachi Yakuhin, 1
Chambre, 3
Chloe, 9
Ciaopanic, 18
Closshi, 3
Corte, 6
Cosme Kitchen, 9
Cox, 16–17, 19
Daimaru, 1, 16–17
Daiwa, 17
Daytona Int, 16–17
Divalo, 3
DressX, 13
Ecostore, 9
Eddie Bauer, 1, 4, 19
Familymart, 8, 12
FamiPay, 9
Fast Retailing, 5, 10–11
Felissimo, 17
First Down, 4
Five Foxes, 17–18
Fortress Investments, 5, 13
Gap, 17
Gelato Pique, 9
Genky, 1
Global Style, 17–18
Google Japan, 12
Green Beans, 1, 7, 9
GU, 17–19
Hankyu Hanshin, 11
Haruyama Shoji, 17, 19
Heiwado, 6–7, 17
Hitachi Transport, 8
Honeys, 17–19
IBM, 11
Inditex, 17
Isetan Mitsukoshi, 5
Itochu Shoji, 4, 9
Itokin, 16–17
Iwataya Mitsukoshi, 16–17
Izumi, 5, 7, 17
Izumiya, 17
Izutsuya, 17
Japan Post, 12
Jupiter Shop, 17
Kao, 12
Keio, 16–17
Kintetsu, 16–17
Komatsu Matere, 9
Konaka, 17, 19
LaLaport, 4
Laox, 18
Lawson, 6–7
Leilian, 16–17, 19
Life Corporation, 17
Logos Days, 3
Lohaco, 9
Louis Vuitton, 5
Lucua, 9
LVMH, 1, 5
Marui Group, 16–17
Mash Holdings, 9, 14, 16–17, 19
Matsuya, 1, 16–17
Maxvalu, 10
Meitetsu, 17
Mercari, 13
Metaverse, 13
Mitsubishi Estate, 4, 8
Mitsubishi Shoji, 10
Mitsui, 10, 13
Mizujin, 4, 19
Moncler, 9
Muji, 1, 10–11, 17, 19
MyVoice, 6
Nestle Japan, 8
Nishimatsuya Chain, 1, 14, 17–19
Nitori, 1
Odakyu, 11, 17–18
Onward Holdings, 10, 17
Pal Group, 14, 16–19
Palemo, 17–19
Parco, 4
Plaza, 3–4
Quomist, 4
Rakuma, 13
Rakuten, 1, 12–14, 16–17
Ryohin Keikaku, 10–11, 17
Sagawa, 9
Sakazen Group, 17
Sanki, 17–18
Sazaby League, 17, 19
Season Reason, 3
Seijo Ishii, 1, 6–7
Seiyu, 17
Senshukai, 16–17
Sesame Street, 9
Seven Eleven, 12
Seya, 4
Shein, 1, 3–4, 10
Shimamura, 1, 3–4, 10, 14, 17–19
Sogo Seibu, 1, 5, 13, 17
Staff Start, 9, 14
Starting Life, 3
Stripe International, 17, 19
Tabio, 16–19
Takashimaya, 1, 11, 16–17
Temu, 1, 3, 10
Tobu Store, 12
Tokyo Base, 17
Tokyo Torch, 8
Tokyu Shibuya, 11
Trial Holdings, 13
TSI, 9, 16–17
Tsuruha, 1
Tsuruya, 17
Tutuanna, 17, 19
Ueno, 6
Uniqlo, 1, 4, 9–10, 17–19
United Arrows, 1, 14, 16–17, 19
Urban Research, 17, 19
Vanish Standard, 9
Wacoal, 17
Wego, 17
Workman, 1, 7, 14, 17–19
Xebio, 6
Yagi Tsusho, 9
Yahoo, 13
Yamada Denki, 5
Yodobashi Camera, 5
York Benimaru, 5–6, 10, 17
Zozo, 1, 13–14, 17–18


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