Isetan Mitsukoshi launching online store

As part of its aim to have digital strategy as the core of its business, Japanese department store company Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings is preparing to launch an online store.

It has started tests leading up to its launch this month of its first online store on Alibaba Group Holding’s Tmall Global.

In the first half of this year, Isetan Mitsukoshi saw sales of duty-free items rise about 3.7 times compared with the same period in 2013. It says Chinese customers account for about 70 per cent of duty-free sales, and are interested in Japanese products that are popular in Japan. This has led to it seeking to develop a following in China through its strategic partnership with Tmall Global.

It will offer safe, high-quality products, mainly Japanese, on Tmall Global; form an alliance between its Chinese and Japanese stores; and accumulate know-how on marketing in China.

Isetan Mitsukoshi will initially offer hundreds of types of products on the platform ranging from fashion and cosmetics to foodstuffs and daily necessities, with plans to subsequently expand the scope of ifs offering.

It will focus on its own brands and seasonal products, and gradually add other Japanese brands. From next year it will stage special campaigns in collaboration with designers.

There will also be after-sale services, including repairs, as well as pop-up stores through its network in China.

Alibaba Group, which runs Tmall – China’s largest B2C online shopping mall – and other eCommerce portals, had 434 million active users on China’s retail market as of June.

Isetan Mitsukoshi was formed in 2008 by merging Mitsukoshi and Isetan, originally inaugurated in 1673 and 1886 respectively as kimono shops. It runs Japan’s largest department store network with 27 outlets in Japan and 31 overseas.

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