Japan’s Ito-Yokado revamps Chiba Pref.-store floor design to attract more customers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ito-Yokado’s Makuhari store is seen in a new layout.

Ito-Yokado Co. has overhauled the layout of its Makuhari store in Chiba to allow customers to purchase clothing, food and household goods on a single floor.

The remodeled store opened July 6, and is the first large-scale general merchandise and department store in the Tokyo metropolitan area to adopt such a configuration.

Stores similar to Ito-Yokado, which sell a wide variety of daily necessities, are increasingly losing ground to specialty outlets.

The new floor plan was introduced in hopes of attracting customers in areas with a large number of families with small children.

The Makuhari store has revamped its layout from a customer perspective, such as by displaying instant noodles and toys near camping-related equipment. Tenant stores, such as the ¥100 shop, and a bookstore are situated on the second floor.

Prior to the renovation, the store sold food and daily necessities on the first floor, and clothes and children’s goods on the second floor, similar to many other general merchandise stores. But observers have pointed out that this kind of arrangement tends to attract older age groups.

The firm reportedly rethought its selection of goods in a bid to woo families with parents in their 30 and 40s — an age group the company has traditionally had trouble attracting.

Smartphone-based self-checkout machines also have been introduced to help shoppers save time.

Ito-Yokado plans to monitor sales in its Makuhari store before deciding whether introduce a similar layout at its other branches.