Iyotetsu Takashimaya, the main department store in Matsuyama in Ehime prefecture, Japan, has announced a new initiative to help both itself and the local retail community.
From March 2022 the regional store operating company will launch a new app to sell mid-year (o-chugen) and New Year gifts (o-seibo), still big business for department stores surviving in Japan, where cultural traditions remain stronger than in the big cities. The app will allow both individual and business customers to order gifts at its five branches in the prefecture and the company hopes to add other product lines over time.
Despite being part of the Takashimaya group, the Iyotetsu stores are run in conjunction with the local railway, which in 2020 saw a 25 percent drop in passenger numbers and the first loss in 11 years. Lack of passengers naturally hit footfall at its Matsuyama Station store. Its problems are, however, more long-term, with the population of Matsuyama now in decline.
To further its own interests and help attract more shoppers to the city, Iyotetsu Takashimaya will also offer an app that connects retailers to vacant stores in the city’s CBD, including offering financial advice for business set up. With an already high 10 percent vacancy rate in the city, the situation has worsened in the past year as businesses have failed.
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