ISETAN Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. is set to open a new flagship store based on the "Cool Japan" concept in central Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. Isetan The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur will offer high-quality products representing Japan's recent fashions, the latest lifestyle trends and top-quality food.
On Oct1, Isetan Mitsukoshi opened a store with a similar concept in Paris. By disseminating the appeal of a host of high-end Japanese brands in Southeast Asia and Europe, the company aims to boost its overseas operations, which are increasingly vital.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Group and the Cool Japan Fund Inc., a public-private fund promoting Japanese products and services abroad, have jointly invested in setting up a new corporate entity to manage the new store in Kuala Lumpur. It spent more than a year completely refurbishing the former Isetan LOT 10 Store.
All the shops occupying the store's six floors, with a total floor area of about 11,000 square meters, feature a range of high-quality products from around Japan. The store has a very different look from a typical department store - each floor is designed to evoke a circuit-style Japanese garden, thereby creating an atmosphere in which clients can relax.
The store features fashion products created by young, internationally active Japanese designers as well as lifestyle products. You can learn about Japanese traditions at its bookstore.
The new store will also have abundant food and drink. It will offer Japanese sake, both Japanese and Western confectioneries, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and fish and meat flown in directly from Japan. Of the 820 brand stores, about 500 are being introduced to Malaysia for the first time.
A floor with restaurants serving Japanese food, including sushi, is scheduled to open in January 2017.
Isetan Mitsukoshi is planning to strengthen its overseas operations by opening new stores and renovating existing ones. It will invest up to ¥20 billion over three years through fiscal 2018 and aims to increase its overseas operating income by ¥2 billion in fiscal 2018 compared with that of fiscal 2015.
The company sees the opening of the new store as a critical pillar for the future. It will examine whether it will be useful to establish similar facilities in other Asian countries.
Many Japanese department store companies have recently widened their operations in Asian countries, as they have better prospects for growth. The Cool Japan Fund has also collaborated with H2O Retailing to establish a department store in China.
As the number of Asian visitors to Japan continues to grow, business opportunities to introduce them to high-quality Japanese products and services are expected to increase.
Hiroshi Onishi, president and CEO of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, says customers visiting the new Kuala Lumpur establishment will see the top-quality Japanese items.
"We're ready to show the world the exceptional craftsmanship Japan is proud to offer. This undertaking represents our first step in introducing Japan's unique regional and national products, experiences and services to the world," Onishi said.