Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Takashimaya plans to launch Shanghai department store

AFP , TOKYO

Japan’s third-biggest department store operator Takashimaya Co said yesterday it plans to open a flagship store in Shanghai in 2012, hoping strong demand there will offset bleak sales at home.

The company plans to invest ¥4 billion (US$42.56 million) to build the 40,000m2, eight-story store — its first in China’s commercial hub, a statement said.

Takashimaya will become the second Japanese department store operator to set foot in China following Isetan Co, a subsidiary of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, in a bid to woo the country’s nouveau riche and affluent foreigners.

The company is also hoping to profit from a knock-on effect from the 2010 Shanghai Expo, which is expected to attract as many as 70 million visitors and for which roads and subways are now under construction, a spokesman said.

The official said it was unclear whether the company would open other stores in light of the worldwide downturn, from which China has not been immune.

China’s exports fell by their steepest margin in more than a decade last month, while growth fell back into single digits because of recessions hitting major export markets in the West and Japan.

Takashimaya already has regional flagship stores in Taiwan and Singapore.

Japanese companies are increasingly looking abroad to earn their fortunes as the population ages and tightens its purse-strings amid what the government has said is the worst recession since World War II.

Department stores in Japan made ¥7.4 trillion last year, nearly ¥2 trillion less than during their peak in 1991, according to the Nikkei business daily.

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