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Tokyo department stores think big

Mitsukoshi’s Nihombashi flagship store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, which will receive large-scale refurbishments, is seen on December 28.

Publication Date : 08-01-2014


Major department store chains are planning major refurbishments of, or completely rebuilding, their flagship stores mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Department stores’ sales of high-end products have been on the rise because of high stock market prices brought about by Abenomics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policy.

Increased sales and steady business performances at department stores have also encouraged the chains to make active investments.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. will renovate three main stores in Tokyo, including Mitsukoshi’s Nihombashi flagship store and its Ginza store, investing a total of 15 billion yen to 20 billion yen (US$144 million to $192 million).

The chain finished renovating Isetan’s Shinjuku flagship store by March 2013 at a cost of about 9 billion yen ($86 million). But President Hiroshi Onishi said, “We’ll aggressively invest in stores from which returns are expected.”

The large-scale refurbishment of the Nihombashi flagship store will be its first since October 2004, when its annex building opened. After the renovation, it will have lost about 30 per cent of space for displaying goods, while the space used for managing inventories will be expanded.

By increasing items to be sold, an executive of the company said, “We’ll return to our original stance to put the customers first.”

Sales floors separately located in the main and annex buildings will be integrated inside the main building. In the annex building, the chain plans to create areas with “culture” themes that guests can enjoy at their leisure.

The refurbishment works are scheduled to be completed in spring 2016.

Takashimaya Co. is planning redevelopment projects by creating new commercial facilities in the Nihombashi district jointly with landowners in nearby areas starting by the end of fiscal 2018.

“We’ll convert the Nihombashi district, which has a strong image as an office area, into a township where people gather also on weekends and holidays,” an executive of the company said.

In Tokyo’s Ginza district, the large-scale renovations of department stores will likely begin appearing.

Printemps’ Ginza department store will launch a business strategy in spring this year designed to lure women into becoming regular customers. It will set up a large sporting goods store in Ginza to attract working women and joggers who run around the Imperial Palace.

Ahead of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, many department stores are considering how to make their stores easier for tourists from overseas to navigate.

J.Front Retailing Co. plans to build a multipurpose building on a site in Ginza, where Matsuzakaya Ginza department store stood, in collaboration with landowners in the area, in 2017 at the earliest.

The new building will accommodate Ginza’s largest commercial facility complex and have a space to park tour buses.

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, Takashimaya purchased the building accommodating its Shinjuku store for about 100 billion yen ($958 million), as many overseas tourists visit the store. The company plans to review its store strategies.

Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. will also improve its sales spaces of luxury brand goods in its stores in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi district, in Kobe and in Sapporo.

In other cities, where results of the economic recovery are slower to take effect, the company aims to avoid negative impacts of the scheduled raise of the consumption tax rate in April by refurbishing sales spaces or holding bargain sales, among other events.


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