NAGOYA (Kyodo) An increasing number of domestic and foreign businesses are offering luxury services in Nagoya as area residents have earned a reputation for being lavish spenders instead of frugal, as in the past.
On the 51st floor of the JR Central Towers commercial complex in the city’s central area, a lavish aesthetic salon, Socie 245, has attracted many customers for its Jacuzzi and body massage courses that cost as much as 100,000 yen per course.
“We’ve had a better-than-expected turnout” since the salon’s launch in March, its manager said.
“Although it’s pricey, I think it’s worth paying,” said a female customer appearing to be in her 30s. “I don’t think it’s a waste.”
Foreign businesses have also come along to cash in on Nagoya’s well-off consumers, known as “Nagoya Serebu,” a term coined from the English word “celebrity.”
Among them is Louis Vuitton, the French luxury-brand retailer, which plans to open a large shop in the city next spring.
Toshihiro Uchida, an economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research & Consulting Co., said what those businesses are looking at is the high ratio of spending to disposable income in the area. The ratio stood at 76 percent per working household last year in the Tokai region centering on Nagoya.
The ratio in the area used to be the lowest among Japan’s three largest metropolitan areas, the other two being Tokyo and Osaka. But it has recently made a big leap in the Tokai region to outpace the other two, he said.
“It seems that (people in Nagoya) have abundant savings and started to loosen their purse strings. In addition, there are many blue-chip firm employees here as well,” Uchida said. Aichi Prefecture is known as the home of Toyota Motor Corp., for example.
A senior official at Nagoya-based department store chain Matsuzakaya Co. said: “The higher the prices, the better the items sell. It looks as though there is a small bubble economy taking place here.”
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