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Isetan Mitsukoshi: ‘This is Japan’

Isetan Mitsukoshi has adopted a new branding positioning – and promises a new in-store concept which will make its debut in Malaysia.

In a message to shareholders, CEO Hiroshi Ohnishi says the company has adopted a new corporate message for 2015 ‘This is Japan’, which will lead to a new in-store concept shortly to be launched in Kuala Lumpur’s Lot 10 shopping centre.

“Since generations past when Mitsukoshi and Isetan operated as kimono merchants, we have always had an eye for quality. From the sense of touch as silk meets the skin, the sound as the obi closes, through to the fragrance and taste of the experience – refining the five senses has always been an essential component of our trade.

“Under our Japan Senses initiative to date, we have also been able to source the very best of Japan’s culture and fine products and deliver this widely to our valued customers,” Ohnishi explains.

“From now on, we will build on this product range and place a focus on communication in all its forms including the grace and beauty of Japanese omotenashi to present This is Japan as part of our management strategy and further refine our corporate activities.”

A new ‘Japan mall’ will open inside the Isetan Kuala Lumpur Lot 10 store as part of the company’s overseas launch of This is Japan.

He explains of the concept: “In 2015, we intend to provide new value and continue to aim toward realising our group vision of being the world’s foremost retail services group.”

In other moves, in Japan it will remodel the interior and art floor (5F) and baby and childrenswear floor (6F) of its flagship Isetan Shinjuku Main store this spring.

“We will also open Isetan Salone select stores in Tokyo Midtown, Harajuku Alta in spring, and Japan Duty Free Ginza on the eighth floor of Ginza Mitsukoshi in autumn.”

Ohnishi says the company’s goal is to create new value to truly move its customers – “by no means an easy task”.

“Each and every one of our staff must transform themselves to stay ahead of the changing interests of our customers. Because of this, we position employee training and development as the most important action that we can take toward achieving our group vision, and we are reforming our human resource structures with a focus on how our stylists (salespeople), who work in closest contact with our customers, can provide satisfaction and move our customers through the sales experience.

“In 2015, we will focus even more closely on transforming our storefronts to satisfy our customers.”

Of 2014, Ohnishi said price levels rose due to the weaker yen as well as April’s sales tax increase.

“While we have seen signs of recovery in personal consumption in some areas, lacklustre economic conditions are continuing, mainly in the regions.

“Our business faced reactionary drop-off after the strong demand leading up to the increase in consumption tax; however, the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group has been warmly supported by our customers, and we have turned the corner toward recovery.

“Nevertheless, we still expect the economic environment to remain severe in the retail industry, and we must further accelerate our corporate reform in order to continue to grow.”


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