Workman plans to go after the lower end of the footwear market, launching a major new initiative this month called Workman Shoes.
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At the start of April, Workman opened the first Workman Shoes store next to a Workman Joshi store in Namba City, Osaka and will open a second store in Sunshine City, Ikebukuro in June.
As well as trainers and hiking shoes, Workman plans to target the women’s fashion footwear market. This is a market ripe for disruption given the dominance of wholesale-dependent retail chains with poor cost performance, and is one of the few lifestyle categories yet to see the type of polarisation seen in apparel and furniture.
Workman is targeting ¥250 million (US$1,95 million) in sales for the first 122 square meters store and hopes to hit ¥60 billion (US$466 million) in footwear sales in a few years, with half coming from 200 Workman Shoes stores and half from other Workman banners.
Workman’s existing footwear lines sold through Workman Plus and Joshi stores increased sales by 40 percent last year, with estimated sales of ¥15 billion (US$116 million).
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If Workman achieves its targets, it will be the fourth biggest footwear retailer in Japan after ABC Mart, Chiyoda and G-Foot.
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