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3,000 men pose as customers for opening of Aoki's Ginza store

28 Comments

Leading menswear retail store Aoki opened its newest outlet in Ginza on May 28. On the first day of its grand opening the store offered incredible deals including a 50% markdown on all clothes and 945-yen super discount suits. Despite it being a weekday, at 9 o’clock in the morning, a crowd of 3,000 people, mostly men dressed in suits appearing to be company employees, made a long line in front of the Ginza store.

It appears there was something phony about the large-scale promotion, which was widely publicized on television. The incident was reported on TV for an entire week. Surely “Aoki Ginza Store” left a strong impression in the mind of viewers.

A long queue is clearly the most effective means of advertising. Foreign low-price retail outlets like H&M and the recent promotional effort (free distribution of 0.1 carat diamonds) by jewelry store Mauboussin, are good examples.

Aoki Holdings may have used the same method, but what really went on behind their "corporate effort" may have been something entirely different. The owner of a mid-sized company doing business with Aoki confided, “We sent about five male employees to the Ginza store acting as “customers” on the opening day because we were asked by Aoki’s affiliate companies. The request came in about a month ago, to have ‘as many male staff as possible’ to go there and ‘purchase something so that it would look legitimate.’ Aoki is one of our biggest clients. There was no way we could refuse.”

Indeed, it seemed rather strange that so many businessmen would be shopping on a Thursday morning.

The same business owner added sarcastically, “Initially we were considering dispatching one or two people. Then the individual in charge at Aoki referred to a specific company, a competitor of ours, which ostensibly was sending more than 10 of their employees. What could we do?”

While some company owners claimed they were willing to cooperate in view of the economic state, Shukan Post was able to identify multiple companies that conceded to this request from Aoki, which indicates that a large percentage of the men standing in line that day were merely posing as customers.

Aoki had suffered a major loss of 40% in net earnings compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Due to the decline in sales at their suburb outlets, the company is aiming to make up for the loss by expanding business in the inner city area. Which would explain why success at the flagship Ginza ship was a must.

In response to Shukan Post’s interview, Aoki stated that they had sent letters and flyers to their vendors and partners about the store, but denied that they had called out for anyone to stand in the queue.

Nonetheless, the Ginza shop appears to be attracting many customers since its opening. Their corporate effort may be paying off after all.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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Aoki. Taking the 'cheap suit' to new heights...

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Yes, it did seem strange that hundreds of men, dressed in suits, were lining up to buy suits on a weekday morning.

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"945-yen super discount suits"

I'd say that's a Super-Duper discount!

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Pretty sad. What a weasels. Anyway, it's common knowledge that Aoki's clothing, all or part of it, is made in North Korea. Guess that as long as it's cheap, people don't care too much where it comes from.

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Sakura, sakura, Aoki mo sato mo ...

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Makura, makura, this story makes me want to sleep...

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Vagante, sharky1 THANK YOU. JT tried to make me laugh a bit with thier article but you added the right elements for a good laugh!

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Do those 945 yen suits come with a spare pair of slacks?

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This is typical of Japan - all fur coat and no knickers.

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"Yes, it did seem strange that hundreds of men, dressed in suits, were lining up to buy suits on a weekday morning."

A month before the onset of the summer heat no less.

Does hiring a load of people to make the shop seem popular, but letting the story out in the press that it was a stunt, not defeat the purpose a bit?

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No surprises though as it's been done before. Hire people to queue outside your store for an opening/new product. Local media come down and lap it all up, forgetting about the previous times when people were hired and believing it's all genuine. People who see it on TV and in newspapers do the same, and everyone believes the little lie so as not to rock the boat.

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945-yen super discount suits.

what about the quality? Hope the material does not shrink after first wash...jacket becomes blouse and trousers turn half-pants... :)

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most men here look as though they spent considerably less than 945 yen for their suits

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"On the first day of its grand opening the store offered incredible deals including a 50% markdown".......from what???It was there first day of trade wasn't it??? (just sarcasm)

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OK, this is just starting to get embarrassing now - a bit like paying people to be your friends so you can look as popular as the other "kids" on the block.

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kirakira25

a bit like paying people to be your friends so you can look as popular as the other "kids" on the block.

Isn't that the concept of "Snack bars, Clubs, and Cabarets"? ...pay women to pour you drinks and talk to you?

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Got it in one Tahoochi! That is what this society seems to be all about! And no-one seems to be able to see how sad it is!

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only 5 employees? hmmm...

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This is about as normal for Japan as the police announcing in advance they will raid some company offices....

This is the kind of news, that.... it really doesn't bother anyone... You want to force other companies to pull some store sales stunt... Sure go ahead... Knock yourself out....

This isn't like the police botching a murder case, while at the time announcing that they are doubling their efforts to stop and check every single person riding a bicycle... Now that really riles people up... At least people with an ounce of common sense...

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if they send me a return ticket plus a gift voucher AND a doctors certificate, i woulda gone standing in line for em! :D

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so why 3000 posed, and obviously took space etc. how many real suits were able to be sold. i would be so pissed off to wait in line to be lied to with a "sorry sold out" when the people were all fake. o that is japan does business. lie cheat and manipulate everything.

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tasha77 at 03:29 PM JST - 16th June "On the first day of its grand opening the store offered incredible deals including a 50% markdown".......from what???It was there first day of trade wasn't it??? (just sarcasm)

Sarcasm, like humor, really only works when it contains an element of truth or accuracy. Aoki is a change-ten and has stores all over the country. Thus, a new branch for an established firm is not the "first day of trade."

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The government needs to sue for fraud or something... what I find stupid is that even that people know it was fake still goto it.

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Were there really three thousand? I can't understand how the companies could afford to let it get so out of hand.

As for 'A long queue is clearly the most effective means of advertising', yes, there's nothing that makes me want to shop more than the prospect of lining up for hours in the early summer sun.

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That queue is even longer than the ones at Krispy Kreme.

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there is something rotten in Ginza. there are no ethics, and consumers are so foolish. is this what reputable business have to do to make any money in this place?

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Is that the same as the dorks i see in the morning hawking around waiting for the pachinko places to open.

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Pretense. That is at the core of all these events in Japan. This accident is actually out in the open but there are millions of other cases when idiotism is labelled as DUTY, DEVOTION, SUPPORT and the list goes on. Will there ever be space for creative thinking, constructive criticism and individual incentive even if that individual is a company??? Superficiality is the lieu here, what can we expect...

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