Ito-Yokado plans China mall foray

JIJI

Major retailer Ito-Yokado Co. plans to start a shopping mall business in China, company officials said Monday.

The Seven & I Holdings Co. unit will open the first such facility adjacent to its existing general merchandise store in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province, next spring, the officials said.

It will have about 110,000 sq. meters of floor space and 150 tenants, including fashion and sundries shops, they said.

Although there have been concerns about China’s economic slowdown, Ito-Yokado believes growth potential is large in the country’s interior.

Ito-Yokado will open three more shopping malls in Chengdu by 2016, including one with a floor space of about 190,000 sq. meters, in the second half of 2014. The large one will be bigger than any in Japan, the officials said.

Ito-Yokado is expected to spend some ¥1 billion on each of the four Chengdu facilities. In addition, it is preparing to establish a local subsidiary to open a shopping mall in Chongqing, also in Sichuan, the officials said.

The company has five general merchandise stores in Chengdu and eight in Beijing.