Major Japanese “developers” of commercial facilities (e.g. shopping centers) operate a number of popular shopping complexes and always have a handful of upcoming development / redevelopment plans.
Examples of such developers include: MITSUBISHI ESTATE, MITSUI FUDOSAN, Sumitomo Realty & Development, NTT Urban Development, AEON MALL, Toshin Development, HULIC, MORI BUILDING and MORI TRUST, Tokyu Land and other major railway group companies (e.g. JR, Tobu, Seibu, Keio, Odakyu, Keikyu, etc.), and so on.
In today’s Japan, most shopping complexes of almost all the cities are built around the artificial developments by these developers. Therefore, it is very important to build and maintain good relationship with them, in order for the brand to achieve successful and speedy store expansion nationwide. The other way around is also true – if the brand fails to build bond with developers, national expansion becomes, practically speaking, nearly impossible.
However, a new brand should be careful of expanding business relationships with developers in a blind way. Hierarchy does exist among them according to the company size or the power of influence. If a new brand opens stores in facilities of “low hierarchy” developers first, then the brand might experience negative reactions from “high hierarchy” developers. Initially, a new brand should prioritize the business with higher hierarchy developers, and by doing so, the brand can also maintain its high brand image.