3 Dept. Store Operators Log Higher Profits

REUTERS/Issei Kato
Takashimaya department store is seen at Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, Japan July 31, 2017.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Three major Japanese department store operators posted a spike in net profits in the fiscal year through February as customer traffic recovered after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

Takashimaya Co.’s profit grew by 5.2-fold from the previous year to a record high of ¥27.8 billion as the company benefitted from cost-cutting efforts in addition to increased customer numbers.

“Sales were led by luxury brand goods,” Takashimaya President Yoshio Murata said at a press conference Friday. “We expect demand among foreign tourists to continue to grow.”

J. Front Retailing Co., which operates Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores, saw its profit climb by 3.3-fold to ¥14.2 billion. Sales at its Kobe store exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

Matsuya Co.’s profit soared by 4.3-fold, boosted by spending on jewelry and other high-end goods by tourists from overseas.

Sogo & Seibu Co., a Seven & i Holdings Co. subsidiary, posted a fourth straight year of net loss, weighed down by store refurbishment costs.

Some industry executives expressed high expectations that the number of customers from mainland China will increase following the easing of Japan’s pandemic-linked border controls.

J. Front Retailing President Tatsuya Yoshimoto said that earnings were being supported by special demand in reaction to a chill in consumption during the pandemic. “We should not overestimate the current situation,” he said.