FUKUTOKUSHA K.K.|Branding & Store Development Strategy Experts


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Why PRINCESSE tam.tam ended up leaving the Japan market?

PRINCESSE tam.tam, a French lingerie retail brand owned and operated by Fast Retailing (UNIQLO operator), shut down the brand in Japan in March 2016, after struggling to gain brand awareness in Japan. On March 25 2016, NIKKEI newspaper wrote as follows; The reason is assumed that PRINCESSE tam.tam failed to increase brand awareness and sales did not grow after starting retail expansion in 2012. PRINCESSE tam.tam opened the first store in Ginza in November 2012, and after that, opened 3 stores within 41 months until March 2016.  Direct operation stores were in Ikebukuro (Tokyo), in Setagaya-ku (Tokyo) and in Osaka.  It also operated on-line store (as listed here, in Japanese). PRINCESSE tam.tam …

Princesse tam.tam Japan store

Oops, BLUE STAR DONUTS did it again – very risky store expansion –

Introducing recent chain store expansion case in Japan that we went “oops…”.  We hope others will not do it again. Let’s take a look at the store expansion of BLUE STAR DONUTS (branded CAMDEN’S BLUE STAR DONUTS in Japan).  They opened Japan’s first store in April 2015 at LOG ROAD DAIKANYAMA, shibuya-ku, Tokyo. BLUE STAR DONUTS operates 7 stores in Japan as of November 2016, as listed below. No. Store Name Prefecture Opened Date 1 Daikanyama Tokyo April 2015 2 Yokohama Kanagawa March 2016 3 Shinjuku LUMINE1 Tokyo September 6th, 2016 4 Umeda Hanshin Osaka September 7th, 2016 5 Shibuya HIKARIE Tokyo September 16th, 2016 6 Shinsaibashi OPA Osaka September 16th, 2016 …


How should Carl’s Jr expand to establish the brand in Japan?

Carl’s Jr to re-enter Japan market with its 1st store in Akihabara As we conducted “Retail Brands Consumer Awareness & Usage Survey” in June 2016 covering the burger restaurant chain brand Carl’s Jr, we recently visited their 1st store in Akihabara (picture) that just opened in March 2016. Carl’s Jr once entered Japan market in 1989 but left the market only after several years, due to the partnership issues.  This is their 2nd Japan entry with a new partner, and we really hope it works this time. Enjoying delicious burger lunch with ice cream shake, we discussed how Carl’s Jr should expand stores in Japan in order to make it.  We’d like …


Highway “Service Area” evolves to a hot shopping & dining destination

What’s highway SA?  Why a hot shopping destination now? Japan has highway (expressway) of over 9,000 kilometers in total length, and along the highway, rest areas are located every 20 kilometers. About one in three of them are large “Service Area (SA)” and rest of them are small “Parking Area (PA)”. Their “basic functions” are, parking spaces, rest rooms and gas stations; but recently, Japanese SA concept is rapidly evolving to a leisure complex that provide travelers with unique and memorable shopping, dining, relaxation, and entertainment experiences. Originally, Japan Highway Public Corporation (now dissolved) needed to build SA along the highway simply because Japanese regulation prohibits to build any store …

Special menu at Surugawan-Numazu SA: grilled Shizuoka ox tangue with Shizuoka grown wasabi. Source: NEXCO Central

“Developers” rush to build hot new shopping complexes in central Tokyo

Tokyo rushes to develop new commercial complexes The landscape of Tokyo will change dramatically again by the time Tokyo will host Olympic & Paralympic Games in 2020. Major “Developers” are now rushing to develop hot new commercial complexes with shopping centers, offices, residences and other cool facilities, focused in central Tokyo. In addition to ongoing Olympic & Paralympic preperations, recent government policies and influx of money from overseas investors are boosting up large-scale investments to central Tokyo. Below is the list of such “hot” upcoming development projects in Tokyo, yet only the ones already officially announced. It is said that still many more projects are being discussed behind closed doors. …

On grand opening of Blue Bottle Coffee: the mystery of Japanese “Gyouretsu” culture

Blue Bottle Coffee and “Gyouretsu” Have you heard a Japanese word “Gyouretsu“? That’ what you saw at Blue Bottle Coffee that opened today its 1st store in Japan — it means a long line of customers waiting to enter the store. I was also a part of them who went to the store before 8AM this morning, but there were already a long line of customers waiting in chilly outside air.  I was told I need to wait 2 hours to get into the store, so I unfortunately had to give up tasting their coffee in order not to be late for work.  I will be back! It is reported that the line of …


How to make Japan market entry a success – Key Success Factors

How to make Japan market entry a success – for profitable and sustainable business development of a new brand You can download free PowerPoint presentation file of this article from the bottom of this page. It is almost magical to see how a foreign retail brand can achieve a literally overnight success here in Japan — the first store can easily break the world sales record with off the charts customer transactions. If that brand can expand its store network in the right way, Japan market can grow to a star moneymaker for that brand. To name a few of such examples: McDonald’s Japan opened its 1st store in Ginza …

Grand Opening

Building bond with “Developers” is vital for national retail expansion

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 …


Japanese retail market basics: key facts & trends for store development planning

Welcome to Japanese retail market! Assuming you are a global retailer and new to this market, please let us brief you with the basic facts about Japanese retail market that should be helpful to start thinking your Japan market development strategies. 1. Facts about the land and the population In a nutshell: in Japan, retail markets are intensely concentrated in small flat areas of Kanto Area and Kansai Area, especially in Tokyo-to. Consumers mostly trip by the train network. 127 million Japanese people live in 47 prefectures. High centralization: among those 47, population is intensely concentrated in prefectures in blue letters (see left), especially in Tokyo-to that has 10%+ of …


Checklist: What should be discussed upon new store location decision?

You can download checklist (excel file) from bottom of this page. After a new store opens, sales and profit budget responsibilities of the store would be taken by Store Operations team. It is vital for Store Development team and Store Operations team to discuss deeply, build trust and form consensus about various issues of the candidate site in order for the new store to achieve a success after opening. The CHECKLIST below shows common discussion items that should be discussed internally upon making a decision on new store location. Store Development and Store Operations should discuss these discussion items from the same perspective and forecast the new store sales. Then, …

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