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Emporiums target upscale spenders

JIJI

Department stores are stepping up their year-end sales campaigns in hopes of attracting high-spending customers emboldened by an upsurge in economic sentiment.

In Tokyo, Sogo & Seibu Co. opened its year-end gift center at Seibu’s flagship store in the Ikebukuro district on Tuesday, while rivals plan to dedicate special areas to the items early this month.

Parent Seven & I Holdings Co. is shooting for 5 percent growth in year-end gift sales from the previous year.

At the department store’s kickoff meeting Tuesday morning in Ikebukuro, sales clerks said they were enthusiastic about the campaign.

Sogo & Seibu’s high-end items include coffee beans that go for ¥21,000 per 300 grams and soaps that cost ¥5,250 a bar.

“Many customers want to buy high-quality items to which they are attached,” a buyer said.

In the meantime, rival Isetan Mitsukoshi Ltd. plans to set up a gift center at the Mitsukoshi store in the Nihonbashi district on Wednesday.

The center will let customers sample such luxury items as Western-style sweets, beer and ham that are expected to be as popular as they were last year.

Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co., owned by J. Front Retailing Co., will begin taking year-end gift orders Friday. The chain plans to expand the number of items costing ¥10,000 or more as well as market limited amounts of high-end merchandise, including Western liquor priced at ¥525,000.