Isetan-Mitsukoshi will close its store in Matsudo, Chiba in March 2017. The department store group cited the need to focus investment on its key stores in order to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the chain.
It also made it clear that it needed to take a hard look at any other store or division that was a drag on profit growth.
This is a major u-turn following the sacking of former CEO Hiroshi Onishi. Onishi spearheaded the closure of loss-making and redundant buildings, closing eight Mitsukoshi stores and one Isetan store during his tenure.
In November2016, he then announced that Isetan Matsudo, as well as Isetan Fuchu and Mitsukoshi stores in Matsuyama and Hiroshima, were also due for closure.
He then suggested that stores in Sapporo and Niigata, both run by Mitsukoshi, should be downsized. An opposing faction to Onishi exploited staff and union protests, and he was ousted in March 2017.
Six months later, new management also realiZed that Isetan Matsudo is indeed impossible to resuscitate.
Opened in 1974, the Matsudo store was originally well-supported by the emerging affluent middle class in the Tokyo suburbs of Chiba. In 1995, sales peaked, then became reasonably stable, till 2016, when declined, and never increased.
New Isetan-Mitsukoshi CEO Toshihiko Sugie’s decision to close Matsudo did not come easily, and is a major loss of face for the mutineers who ousted Onishi. There was an attempt to ask a relief from the rent, but government officials did not show any support to keep the store open.
Isetan-Mitsukoshi has announced that its situation should serve as example to reconfigure the department store model and convert it in a more sustainable which suits the new generation’s demand.
(Source: Japan Consuming )