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Osaka stores beating out Tokyo rivals

Jiji Press OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Sales of tax-free products at department stores in Japan’s western commercial capital of Osaka are far outpacing those at Tokyo department stores, following the launch of an international terminal exclusively for low-cost carriers at Kansai International Airport in January 2017.

In the business year through last February, tax-free sales at Takashimaya Co.’s Osaka store surged 59 percent from the previous year to ¥24 billion, compared with ¥11.5 billion at its Shinjuku store in Tokyo, up 7 percent.

Thanks to strong tax-free sales, the Osaka store posted the highest overall sales among the group’s domestic stores for the first time in 66 years.

“The new terminal made a great contribution,” a Takashimaya public relations official said.

The budget carrier terminal has led to a rise in international flights, including those to and from China, at the Kansai airport, some 40 minutes’ drive from the Takashimaya store in Osaka.

Within the J. Front Retailing Co. group, tax-free sales at the Daimaru Shinsaibashi store in Osaka have reached 7.5 times those at the Daimaru Tokyo store.

In the Shinsaibashi store, cosmetics items, which are popular among visitors from overseas, are placed in a focused manner around a tax-free service counter.

“We can achieve further growth by studying a product lineup for foreign visitors,” J. Front Retailing President Ryoichi Yamamoto said.

Meanwhile, Kintetsu Department Store Co. President Keiji Takamatsu warned, “We’re not sure how long this level of demand will continue” in the Kansai region, including Osaka, given that so-called explosive spending, or bakugai, led by Chinese visitors, has peaked out throughout Japan.

Kintetsu now projects a year-on-year rise of only some 1 percent in sales at its main store, located in the Abeno Harukas commercial complex in Osaka, for the current business year, after the store’s sales marked double-digit growth in the last year.

Yohei Koizumi, chief researcher at the Mitsubishi Research Institute, said, “It’s important to make marketing efforts while closely watching shifting trends in the popularity of products” in order to maintain the current momentum in tax-free sales.Speech

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