Workman Girl & Daiso Finally Penetrating the High End City of Ginza | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Workman Girl & Daiso Finally Penetrating the High End City of Ginza

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Daiso opens a store on the site of Nitori

Tokyo’s Ginza district has long been famous as a luxury brand district, but since 2010, more and more low-priced brands have opened in the area. The opening of new low-priced brands here in April has become a topic of conversation, with the opening of a 100-yen Daiso on April 15 and a Workman Women’s on April 28.

These two stores are low-priced within low-priced, almost “rock-bottom” prices in the respective fields of sundries and clothing. The low-priced branding of Ginza also seems to have reached a dead end, but let us consider this issue.

The leader in the 100-yen category is the well-known “Daiso”. Its sales are more than double those of second-place Celia! Recently, the company has been talking about starting to carry its products at 7-Eleven stores (Photo: Afro)

Daiso will open on the 6th floor of Ginza Marronnier Gate 2. This is the site where Nitori withdrew. Workman Women will open on the 5th floor of “Exit Mersa”. This is where LaOX used to be. The common feature of both stores this time is that they will be in commercial buildings.

The reason for the successive withdrawal of brands from commercial buildings, not only in Ginza, is undoubtedly the recession caused by the spread of the new coronary disease that began in the spring of 2020, which has forced commercial buildings and department stores to refrain from operating or shorten their hours until 2021, resulting in a decline in sales. In the case of Ginza, the disappearance of inbound customers due to the new Corona also contributed to the decline. Ginza was one of the most popular spots for inbound customers, so it is thought that the backlash was greater than in other areas.

The opening of the Hermes flagship store in 2001: Ten years after the bursting of the bubble economy, 800 people lined up at the storefront for the limited-edition “Hermes Foul Tote PM…

Why “Daiso” and “Workman”…

Why were Daiso and Workman the successor tenants that pulled out? The reason is that there are only a few major companies left in Japan, including these two, that have the capital to open stores in Ginza, where rents are high for both general merchandise and apparel. There are also those who lament the opening of low-priced brands in Ginza, but UNIQLO, g.u., MUJI, and others have already opened stores there, and it has long since become a rarity for low-priced brands to open stores in Ginza.

Looking at the apparel industry, it is not too much to say that all famous Western luxury brands have already opened stores in Ginza. As for department store brands in Japan, World and Onward Kashiyama, for example, have been suffering from severe management problems since before the new Corona, and have repeatedly restructured one store after another, and have continued to close unprofitable stores.

This means that only major low-priced brands will be able to open new stores to fill the void, but UNIQLO, g.u., MUJI, and others have already done so. Under these circumstances, only Workman remained.

The same is true for general merchandise, which has become even more of an oligopoly than apparel.

Flying Tiger” was a fashionable general merchandise store that experienced a boom about 10 years ago after it landed in Japan, but the number of stores has been decreasing since shortly before the Corona expansion. Only one store remains, in Hyogo. The boom was only a boom and did not last long.

There was also a general merchandise brand called “ASOKO” that was launched around the same time and was much talked about in the media, but it no longer exists. After the dissolution of the operating company, it was absorbed by the Pal Group, but the brand itself disappeared in 2021. Also, “Crescent Moon Momoko” attracted attention for a while as a pioneer of 300-yen sundries, but it went bankrupt.

In 2008, the first H&M store in Japan opened in Ginza. 5,000 people lined up for the first H&M store in Ginza. Later, in 2012, UNIQLO also opened a flagship store in Ginza. The H&M Ginza store closed in 2018.

Expansion of the Number of Stores: “Four Major 100-Year-Old Companies

Meanwhile, the four major 100-yen retailers are increasingly expanding the number of their stores, with Daiso Sangyo, which operates Daiso, in first place; Celia, in second place; Cando, in third place; and Watts, in fourth place, with combined sales for these four companies reaching the 900 billion yen level. Daeso Sangyo, with sales of 530 billion yen, is the largest company by far, with sales more than twice those of Celia, which is in second place. Due to the nature of general merchandise, it is difficult to find a fast-growing company that can compete with these four giants.

In general, the quantity of mass-produced industrial products, not only general merchandise but also clothing, is easily proportional to the low manufacturing cost and stable quality of the product. In the case of apparel, small-scale, high-priced brands can attract the attention of the public and grow significantly, thanks to the brand status and fashion propositions.

On the other hand, new entrant brands such as ASOKO and Flying Tiger start with small-lot production and purchasing, so it is difficult to lower production costs and increase profit margins. They cannot even catch up with the big four, and the gap between them is only widening. The oligopoly of the big four will therefore continue to grow.

The Pal Group’s 300-yen general merchandise store “Three Coins” is doing relatively well and increasing sales in the fashion sundries business. It can be said that ASOKO failed to create synergies with Three Coins. On the other hand, Three Coins has entered a virtuous spiral, as it has been able to further reduce its manufacturing and purchasing costs by reaching this scale.

GINZA SIX opened in 2017, targeting inbound demand, on the former site of the Matsuzakaya Ginza store, which closed in 2013. However, with the disappearance of inbound Corona Disaster, a large number of tenants closed last year.

The new Corona has begun to wind down, but convergence is not yet in sight. Re-introduction of inbound customers will still be a long way off. In this case, the only response to domestic demand will be for major low-priced brands with strong corporate strength in both general merchandise and clothing to continue to aggressively open stores not only in Ginza but also in other areas. In the future, the oligopolization of the market is likely to continue. The opening of the Ginza store is a symbol of this trend.

  • Text Mitsuhiro Minami

    Born in 1970. After graduating from college, he joined a chain of mass retail clothing stores and became a reporter for a textile trade newspaper in 1997. 2003: After retiring, he worked in public relations for a T-shirt apparel manufacturer, as a magazine editor, in sales for a large exhibition organizer, and in public relations for a fashion college before becoming an independent PR specialist. Currently works as a freelance textile industry writer and PR advisor.

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