OSAKA - Competition among department stores has intensified in Osaka due to renovations and expansions in addition to the opening of a new department store. To survive, department stores have been thinking outside the box and offering new events-and even teaming up with their rivals.
Meanwhile, department stores' survival measures, such as creating new types of stores and cooperating with rivals, have also been spreading.
"Department store competition in Osaka is the toughest among major cities," Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. President Tatsuya Yoshimoto said at a press conference to announce the company's financial results, held in Osaka on Oct. 8. The 2013 March-August sales figures for the company, which runs Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores, increased by 4.9 percent over the same period in the previous year. However, sales for Daimaru's Umeda and Shinsaibashi stores declined.
The environment surrounding department stores in the city has drastically changed in recent years. In May 2011, JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan department store opened in the Umeda district around JR Osaka Station. Hankyu department store's main Umeda store underwent a complete renovation in November 2012.
The total store space of the four department stores, including Hanshin's main Umeda store and Daimaru's Umeda store, is about 247,000 square meters. The floor space is larger than Tokyo's Shinjuku district where four department stores, including Isetan's main store and Takashimaya's Shinjuku store, are in fierce competition.
According to the Japan Department Stores Association, September sales of 11 department stores in Osaka were up 8.3 percent compared to the same month the previous year, and for the 11th consecutive month. In addition to the increased floor space, the economic recovery spurred increases in sales. However, sales per 100 square meters decreased for three consecutive months and is only two-thirds of the sales made at department stores in Tokyo.
In March next year, Kintetsu department store's main store at Abeno Harukas will mark its grand opening in Osaka's Abeno district. Its floor space is expected to be about 100,000 square meters, the largest for a department store in Japan. Department store competition in Osaka is likely to intensify further.