Department stores cross fingers for sales recovery

Reuters file photo
Mitsukoshi’s logo is seen on its department store in Tokyo on Jan. 30, 2018.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese department store chains, welcoming a third New Year’s Day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hope that sales will recover this year as consumer sentiment improves thanks to the relaxing of pandemic restrictions.

Some major department stores in Tokyo opened Sunday for the first sale of 2023.

Sogo & Seibu Co.’s flagship Seibu Ikebukuro store opened at 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than planned as a line of shoppers queued outside the store.

The number of shoppers was about 50% above the level a year before, according to store officials. The store sold about 2,500 food lucky bags from 11 brands.

“I bought ham and steamed meat buns. I’m looking forward to eating them with my family,” a woman in her 30s said.

“I’m struggling with rising prices for goods sold at supermarkets and higher electricity bills, but I want to feel a sense of luxury in the New Year’s period,” said a woman, a resident of Tokyo who visited the store with her daughter to buy a confectionery lucky bag.