Nov 20, 2017

Kids' floors at remodeled dept. store drive sales growth

TOKYO - Remodeled children's floors at major Japanese department stores are seen as a growth pillar that could help revive sales, attracting working parents who are willing to spend more on their kids.

Customer traffic has increased following changes in the way baby items are displayed, grouping them by category or children's age, rather than categorizing them by brand. New services, such as Lego block courses, have also yielded positive results amid the trend of Japanese fathers becoming more involved in childrearing.

Takashimaya department store has renovated its baby item sections at six outlets in areas including Tokyo and Osaka since September last year. Sales at five of the six stores in the year through August have soared roughly 24 percent from a year earlier.

A variety of buggies now feature adjustable handles able to accommodate use by taller men, as well as women. The children's floor "has become the entrance (of department stores) for women in their 30s who have given birth," a Takashimaya official said.

In March, Takashimaya's Shinjuku outlet in Tokyo remodeled its baby item section so its customers can pick products by use or child's age rather than brands. Part of the floor for early elementary school children was also renovated in September.

"As you can buy anything online nowadays, we hope to provide a place where you can experience all kind of things at our store," an official at the Shinjuku outlet said. The store is also planning to set up a space where children can practice bouldering and jump rope.

At an annex building of Sogo department store's Chiba outlet, which was partially renovated in September, children can now take Lego block courses. The outlet plans to open a space where families can play table tennis in late November.

"We hope our children's floor will become a magnet for moms, dads and grandparents," a Sogo official said.




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