High-end Japanese retailer Takashimaya in U-turn, to keep Shanghai store open

Georgina Lee

High-end Japanese department store Takashimaya Company in a U-turn on Friday said it would continue to operate its 60,000-square metre store near Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. It had announced in late June it would close the store – its sole outlet in mainland China – on Sunday, August 25.

“We previously announced that we would close Shanghai Takashimaya on Sunday, August 25. However, we have decided to continue operating the store on August 26 and thereafter,” the company said in a statement on its website.

The eleventh-hour U-turn was attributed to support extended by the seven-storey building’s landlord, as well as “assistance from the Shanghai municipal government”. The short statement did not provide any further details.

“Shanghai Takashimaya wants to apologise for causing any concerns among our customers since June 25 [the date of the initial announcement],” it added.

The announcement in June, reported by the South China Morning Post, would have ended the Osaka-based retailer’s seven-year stay in China. Takashimaya had cited fierce competition and rapid changes in China’s consumption patterns as reasons for winding up in that statement.

The Shanghai Takashimaya store. Photo: Handout

Takashimaya, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, had said it would probably incur a loss of up to 3 billion yen (US$27.9 million), and that the Shanghai store had been unprofitable over the past three years.

It had said the decision to pull out and liquidate its China business was made by its board of directors and shareholders, and it was unclear on Friday if its board or shareholders had reached any resolution on how to steer a turnaround for the business.

The company’s original decision had come amid a wave of exits by other foreign retailers. In June, French hypermarket-operator Carrefour sold 80 per cent of its China business to local appliance seller Suning.com. US department store operator Macy’s and the UK’s Marks & Spencer have both pulled out of China as well.

Takashimaya to close its Shanghai store in August

Takashimaya, a centuries-old retailer that can trace its roots to a family-run clothing store started in Kyoto in 1831, owns 19 department stores in Japan. It has overseas outlets in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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