Japanese department store operator Takashimaya is looking to expand its overseas operations, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia.
The retail chain’s president President Yoshio Murata said in a recent interview that the smaller Asian segment offers potential growth opportunities for the Nippon firm.
Murata elaborated on the idea, saying he wants to leverage off the retailer’s four locations already operating abroad.
The international stores referred to are situated in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Shanghai.
“Raising the profitability of the four stores is the first step,” said Murata.
The CEO hinted at opening stores soon in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Takashimaya opened a store in the IconSiam development in Bangkok late last year.
“As long as there are good conditions, [additional locations] are entirely possible,” he said.
The international expansion plans come as Japan’s population continues to become increasingly aged driven by a declining birthdate, hurting retail consumption at places like luxury department.
As a result, Murata said that Takashimaya’s domestic business is facing challenges and that he will push forward with structural reforms.
“This year will be a crucial one in determining whether (the company’s domestic operations) can survive,” he said.
For the full-year 2018, Takashimaya registered operating revenue of 912,848 million yen for the fiscal year ending February 28. Profit came in at 16,443 million yen, or 81.44 yen per diluted share.
Despite the population shift, Japan’s monthly retail sales figures continue to increase. In January, retail sales in Japan grew 1.3%, the biggest yearly gain for 2019 so far, followed by slight increases in February and March, up 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively. Most recently, retail sales were up 1% in April.
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According to JETRO (Japan’s governmental external trade agency), Japan boasts the world’s second largest retail market, with a sales value exceeding US $1.3 billion (150 trillion yen).