Inside Retail Asia breaking news, supplier information, product launches and consumer campaigns within the Japan retail sector.

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Michael Kors to open Ginza monster

Michael Kors will open its largest Japanese flagship store this fall, on Chuo St in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The store will be the first in the world to carry every category offered by the global luxury lifestyle brand. “Japan is a key market for our continued development in Asia,” said Michael Kors. “This is a very exciting opening. Ginza is one of the world’s great shopping neighborhoods, in one of the greatest fashion cities, so it’s both exciting and appropriate that we…

Japan retail sales underwhelm

Japan’s retail sales rose a marginal 0.2 per cent in December – the sixth consecutive monthly year-on-year increase. Analysts had expected a stronger one per cent increase, despite challenging economic circumstances largely due to the nation’s declining and ageing population. Department stores were the weakest link, with data from the Japan Department Stores Association showing a same-store sales fall of 1.7 per cent year-on-year – the ninth consecutive fall. The fall would have been g…

Japanese eyes on California

Japan’s largest eyewear retailer Jins is to launch in the US, opening an inaugural flagship store in San Francisco’s Union Square this spring. Tokyo-based Jins launched its first store in 2001 and now operates more than 300 retail locations across Japan and China. The 4900 sqft flagship will be located at 151 Powell St and Jins promises it will stock one of the most expansive collections of eyeglasses in the city. In tandem with the store, Jins will launch a US eCommerce site in Spr…

Westfield Study Tour spots available

Places are still available for this year’s Westfield World Retail Study Tour, which will visit five cities including New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Tokyo. To take place over 17 days from May 3 2015, the tour will hear from more than 50 speakers, who will share their strategies, insights, and learnings into the latest themes impacting retail including building team culture, leveraging technology and big data to understand and engage customers, delivering exceptional cu…

Muji introduces self checkouts

Japanese chain Muji has contracted NCR to supply self checkout machines for a trial in its Japanese stores. In doing so, it becomes the first non-grocery retailer in the nation to adopt self checkout technology. Muji, a quirky anti-brand department store chain selling homewares, stationery, apparel, giftwares and foods, has a growing global footprint after achieving significant success in its home market, and wider Asia. NCR says Muji, owned by Ryohin Keikaku Co, will deploy the NCR Sel…

Uniqlo global sales soar

Uniqlo has reported a stellar quarter with international sales soaring 47 per cent. And its operating profit outside its home market of Japan rose even further in the three months to November 30 – by 57.2 per cent year on year to ¥24.3 billion, (US$203 million). Uniqlo, in a statement, said the international division performed “extremely well” with revenue and profit higher than expected. On the domestic market, Uniqlo also achieved higher than expected increases in revenue and profit…

Aeon reshuffles executive team

Japan retailer and mall operator Aeon Co has started the year with a reshuffle of its management team. The changes will effectively halve the number of executives and employees at head office level, with many functions like human resources and other operational roles moved to operating units, reducing centralisation. In personnel, Aeon Mall president Soichi Okazaki has been appointed president of Aeon Retail, replacing Kazunori Umemoto, who takes the role of Aeon Retail chairman. Okazak…

Japanese store casts customers as actors

A unique retail interior design in the Japanese city of Kobe has caught the attention of an international design awards competition. The 82sqm store design – ‘note et silence. mint Kobe’ – was created by a team led by Shin Takahashi, a renowned Japanese manga artist born in Hokkaido. It’s just been awarded a Golden A’ Design Award in Interior Space and Exhibition design by A’ Design Award and Competition  Takahashi says ‘note et silence’ is a select shop, in the port cit…

Rakuten launches $100m global fund

Japanese online retail giant Rakuten has created a US$100 million war chest to shop for startups internationally. It has launched a global investment fund, targeting investments in startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the US and builds on the success of the Southeast Asia fund, which was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio. The larger global fund gives Rakuten the opportunity to empower the …