Japan Has A Yen for Private Brand.

This article from the Kyoda News by way of The Japan Times presents an interesting snapshot of Private Brands in Japanese fashion it features Japanese retailers AEON Topvalu and Sogo & Seibu Co., whose parent company Seven & I Holdings owns the American convenience store 7-Eleven. For those of you who are not up to date on the exchange rate for the Yen, the jeans in the photo would cost $9.58 USD.

Kyodo Photo
Kyodo Photo

Low-priced clothing next big thing
Supermarkets, department stores count on cheap, quality items to remedy plunging sales

Supermarkets and department stores are churning out low-priced clothing, actively taking part in the planning and production phases to become manufacturing retailers.

“With this price, coming all the way here paying train fares is worth it,” said a man in his 60s who traveled from Tokyo to the Jusco Tsudanuma store in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture. The store is run by the Aeon Co. group.

He visited the store to buy three pairs of jeans priced at ¥880 each produced in August by Aeon Topvalu Co. and marketed by Aeon Co. They were put on the market to counter the ¥990 jeans marketed this spring by stores under the wing of Fast Retailing Co.

“Clothing made in Japan is still priced higher,” said Shigemitsu Yamada, a director of Aeon Topvalu. The company produces good quality but cheap products by negotiating independently with a Chinese clothing factory, including over the selection of cloth.

Manufacturers are normally reluctant to increase the variety of waist sizes and pants lengths due to the burden on inventory, but distributors can take the risk because they can predict sales with precision.

Aeon Topvalu produces 63 combinations of waist sizes and pant lengths for its slim-fitting jeans, including for middle-aged and older men, many of whom have a bigger waist and shorter legs.

The need to do something was clear. Clothing sales at supermarkets nationwide in the first half of this year fell 11.9 percent from the year before, while those at department stores in July plunged 15.6 percent, marking the 25th consecutive monthly decline.

Sogo & Seibu Co., under the wing of Seven & I Holdings Co., created a division to develop private-brand products in September. Amid a growing customer tendency to favor low-priced products, the company has tied up with a clothing enterprise dealing with mass-sales stores.

The company will market women’s clothing 40 percent cheaper than usual prices.

Read the entire story.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.