Everyone reporting on the arts scene in the context of the pandemic is duty bound to speak in hushed tones to acknowledge that the current situation has forced countless closures and deterred young creatives from embarking on a career in something they are passionate about.

Still, despite the gloom, the retail reality at the country’s leading department stores has actually been quite positive of late, with early sales figures from the clearance sales at the start of the new year putting the likes of Sogo & Seibu Co. and Takashimaya Co. on a 150% increase in earnings year on year. Even Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, which did better than most to weather the storm last year, posted a 130% increase in earnings year on year.

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