Japanese anti-brand retailer Muji has opened a massive 4300sqm store in Osaka featuring its first dedicated fresh department.
While the company has offered dried foods, snacks and other foods since it was founded in 1980, and even shelf-stable vegetables in some stores, this is the first time it has ventured into chilled, fresh meat and produce.
The Muji fresh store is the brand’s largest globally and five times the typical Japanese footprint. About 50 per cent of it is dedicated to food and it also features a Cafe & Meal Muji eating place.
Kei Suzuki, director and executive officer of Muji parent Ryohin Keikaku, told Inside Retail Asia that once refined the company will look to roll out the concept in other markets.
“At first we have to see what is going to happen in Japan, but I believe the Muji customer … is keen to have a good fresh product,” said Suzuki, who was one of the leading speakers at yesterday’s MarketingPulse conference, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Suzuki said Muji customers are in tune with freshness, sustainability, supporting local farmers and suppliers – and they want quality. He is confident the Osaka concept store will win over customers.
“Once we see that we are successful then … I also want to try it here in the future. But it has not been decided yet.”
Photos released by Muji show fresh meats, fish, vegetables and perishable goods on display in a bright, airy retail space. Minimalist design and displays made from natural materials are in keeping with the company’s market positioning.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Ryohin Keikaku chairman Masaaki Kanai told local media Muji was committed to expanding its selection of local food products.
“We want to become a part of the community.”
One of the reported rationales behind Muji fresh is to entice customers to visit more often. Food is a more frequent purchase than stationery or household items, for example.