Japanese still crave luxury goods

Luxury goods remain attractive to Japanese consumers despite the soggy economy and lurking effect of March’s earthquake and tsunami.

A survey by the Japan Department Stores Association has revealed that precious metals, art and jewellery sales are steadily growing since June. Expensive watches, luxury clothing and accessories, paintings and expensive holiday trips are continuously soaring high notwithstanding the general retail sales downturn.

The Matsuya department store in Ginza boosted sales by a whopping 700 million yen ($8.9 million) when it conducted a luxury products special sale in September.

A travel centre located at Mitsukoshi department store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, has reported double digit  annual sales growth since June.

“Many frequent travelers refrained from going abroad following the March 11 earthquake. Perhaps in reaction, customers are now coming back. We are seeing a thaw,” said an official.

According to Takashimaya Corporation (parent of Takashimaya department stores) president Koji Suzuki, gift giving stimulates high demand for luxury goods. His company is planning to focus more on personal relations in marketing campaigns for luxury products in the coming end of year gift giving season.

“The customers who are buying high-quality items are not necessarily wealthy people. Perhaps they want to enjoy their lives. Customers may be converting their money into luxury items because of anxiousness (about holding on to cash),” said by Tsutomu Okuda, chairman of J. Front Retailing Co, operator of Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co.


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