Retail in Asia

In Markets

Japanese malls register record sales thanks to Chinese shoppers

Chinese tourists buying million-yen watches and luxury brands helped boost sales at Japanese premium outlet malls owned by Mitsubishi Estate Co. to a record last year, as a weaker currency led to a surge in bargain-hunting visitors.

Premium outlet sales jumped by more than 10 percent to between 300 billion ($2.6 billion) and 350 billion in 2015, Yutaka Tajima, a senior executive officer at Mitsubishi Estate, said in an interview in Tokyo Monday. He is targeting higher sales this year, he said.

The tourism boom is helping Japan’s largest developer by market value navigate slowing consumption as the nation’s population drops. Overseas tourists visiting the company’s nine high-end outlets rose more than 80 percent to 1.17 million in the first nine months of 2015, Tajima said. For the first time in 45 years the number of visitors to Japan overtook people traveling abroad last year.