Business

Mitsukoshi shutters flagship Paris store

Kyodo

Mitsukoshi Ltd. on Thursday closed its flagship store in Paris after 39 years of operation because it wasn’t getting enough Japanese visitors.

As the first Japanese department store in Europe, Mitsukoshi’s Paris outlet debuted in 1971, racking up profits by offering Japanese-language services and customer assistance for duty-free procedures.

After logging ¥5.7 billion in sales in 1996, the store took a hit from the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States as people refrained from air travel.

Japanese visitors in Paris are now being increasingly drawn to local stores, including major brand shops. As a result, sales at the Mitsukoshi branch slumped to around ¥1.7 billion last year.

Before closing time, Manager Takehito Goto gave customers a final farewell.

“It is regrettable that we cannot say, ‘We look forward to you shopping with us again,’ ” he said.

In contrast, the Paris flagship of casual clothing chain Uniqlo, which is just 200 meters away from Mitsukoshi, was drawing a healthy crowd on the first anniversary of its opening.