• Kyodo

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Hankyu department store on Thursday opened about 80 percent of the retail space in its Umeda flagship branch in central Osaka ahead of a full reopening set for Nov. 21.

The store, managed by Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores Inc., is the biggest department store in western Japan. With the operator planning to pull in customers from all over the region, it is hoped the opening following a major renovation will generate a positive impact on the Osaka area’s economy. The store in Kita Ward opened about 64,000 sq. meters of space mainly on its north side.

A major attraction is an open-ceiling space through the ninth to 12th floors. Among sections facing the airy space is a line of stores on the 10th floor modeled after a Middle Eastern market selling handmade watches and other unique items.

The third and fourth floors have new sections focused on young women, with a selection of clothing and cosmetics.

The store has been undergoing renovation since 2005 with some space open for operations. It posted about ¥124.4 billion in revenue for the 2011 business year, the most among the department stores based in western Japan.

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