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Isetan Mitsukoshi to close 6 department stores next spring

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Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd has decided to close 6 unprofitable department stores, all of which are currently run as Mitsukoshi department stores, as part of its restructuring plan, industry sources said Thursday.

The shutdown of the department stores would be the first after Isetan Mitsukoshi was launched in April with the merger of two major department store chain operators -- Mitsukoshi Ltd and Isetan Co.

Candidates for the closure include the Mitsukoshi store in Kagoshima and one in Tokyo's Ikebukuro.

The move comes at a time when the department store chain, created in April through a merger, is in the midst of restructuring overseas operations.

The company this past summer decided to shut down three Mitsukoshi stores in Germany and one Isetan outlet in Shanghai.

© Wire reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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Is there a list of locations available somewhere? Are there any details for this story?

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Enter the age of the largest department stores ever: the internet.

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Department stores are always full of overpriced, low quality tat anyway. They're only popular for the kudos of the bag. Close them all.

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Nothing says that the stores are being shutdown because of direct competition from the internet. And for anytime in the foreseeable future or mylife time I doubt the internet would ever replace actual fixed places stores you can step into. The internet can't replace the actual experience of going, seeing etc products, putting stuff on and off, or just general windowshopping to kill time.

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I remember when going to a department store in Japan used to be a rather enjoyable adventure, as places where one could wander floor to floor wiling away the time checking out a wide variety of goods at not so unreasonable prices (except maybe for the traditional Japanese items). I really felt like I was shopping (window- or otherwise) at a "family" store named Hankyu or Takashimaya. And all the workers made me feel like going there was a treat, whether I bought something or not, not like I was fodder for their sales pitches the moment I made eye contact or overstepped into an area's little "territory." Those were the days. The ambience today is very different.

Now what we have the last 10-15 years or so are shells of their former selves, huge buildings (and ever more huge and glitzy) full of not much more than fancy and expensive designer brand boutiques, tiny microcosms of consumer gluttony and designer worship. While my wife will always enjoy what she calls her "window shopping," essentially getting ideas for her artwork and dreaming of things we probably will never afford, I don't find department stores nearly as enjoyable, nor as affordable, nor even as interesting as in years past.

Names (in Kansai) like Isetan Mitsukoshi, Daimaru, Sogo, and more recently Hankyu, Hanshin, Takashimaya and even Kintetsu, one I'd always seen as a working-person's department store, are nowadays mainly just letters on worker's name badges and titles emblazoned on all the multi layers of wrapping and designer-like paper bags gleefully being churned out. What's actually sold inside these stores seems more and more under those boutique brand names, which are then stuffed gently into the stores' fancy bags. What's really apparent too is that most department stores today that I've been to seem infinitely more empty than years ago; with the only floors usually really busy these days being the bargain sale floor, the upper one with the free art exhibits, and of course the basement food floor. Way, way more clerks on all the other floors than customers. I always wonder how they make as much money as they pretend to be.

And I'm not the only one voicing dissatisfaction with these stores' ongoing obsession with brand names, inflated prices and perpetual catering to seemingly the only market worth marketing to in Japan... young women aged 20-30. Have these stores' marketing hotshots noticed that Japan is aging? Duh. One store I read about a few weeks ago was all over the news simply because the president wants to do the obvious, stock items that folks over 50-something might want to buy, and at prices that most folks on pensions and limited incomes can afford to spend. Seems pretty obvious to me, and a pretty safe long-term business plan as well, yet the guy's being chased by wide show types and others as some newfangled maverick (that'll later certainly be marketed overseas as "made in Japan"). Department stores here have a lot to learn, I think.

I say as long as department stores like Isetan Mitsukoshi keep pushing their current business plan of stuffing their stores with overpriced and vastly overrated boutiques that only attract a small segment of the population, good riddance.

I still venture into department stores for the cultural experience, and occasional window shopping & dreaming too, as well as to indulge in their overcool aircons in summer and overhot heaters in winter. But for actual shopping, I'll keep on wiling away my time enjoyably at smaller and less pretentious general merchandise stores like Izumiya, Jusco, Ito-Yokado and Seiyu, not to mention family-run joints in the local shotengai.

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