Discount chain Don Quijote has launched what it calls an unprecedented service for tourists by accepting payment in seven foreign currencies.
Stores will accept the Chinese yuan, Taiwanese dollar, South Korean won, Thai baht, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar and the euro.
The service, launched Wednesday, will be available at 20 branches nationwide, although most are located in the greater Tokyo region.
The retail chain calls the service the first of its kind in Japan. It represents the firm’s latest attempt to cater to foreign tourists, who it says are becoming an increasingly important part of its customer base.
The new service will be available at the outlets foreigners frequent most often, including those in the Tokyo districts of Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Ginza, Akihabara and Ueno. Some stores in Kanagawa, Osaka and Hiroshima prefectures will also adopt the system.
Customers who want to use one of the accepted foreign currencies will be able to do so as long as they pay in bills. They can add yen coins to make up any shortfall. The change will be tendered in yen.
“We have long heard our foreign customers say they want to shop in their own currencies, or that they want to use up Japanese yen more easily by combining it with their own currencies,” said a spokeswoman from Don Quijote Holdings Co.
Starting Thursday, the company will also accept payment by China’s UnionPay bank cards at all 262 domestic outlets, she added.
Don Quijote has enjoyed a surge in sales to foreign tourists since October, when the scope of duty-free items was expanded to include consumable goods such as food, alcohol, cosmetics and drugs, the spokeswoman said. No figures were offered for the size of the increase.
All 262 Don Quijote stores are licensed to sell duty-free items.
The launch of the new service comes as many Chinese tourists are expected to visit the country during the Lunar New Year holidays, which started Wednesday.