Business

Ginza's newest shopping complex to open in April

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Tokyo’s Ginza district will see its newest and biggest commercial complex open next April as it seeks to attract more visitors by providing a luxurious and culture-rich experience, developers said Wednesday.

With the growth of e-commerce, consumer behavior has been shifting, leaving traditional “shopping facilities that merely sell products to face a tougher time,” Sumitomo Corp. President Kuniharu Nakamura told a news conference in Tokyo.

The new, 148,700-sq.-meter Ginza Six mall will feature 241 stores as well as a traditional noh theater, art exhibitions, office space and a bus terminal.

Noting the recent decline in purchases by foreign travelers to Japan, Nakamura said that a key to success is to incorporate Japan’s strengths.

“People from around the world want to experience Japanese people’s thoughtfulness, hospitality and traditional culture,” he said.

Shingo Tsuji, president of Mori Building Co., said since noh drama is a symbol of Japanese traditional culture, it would give the new complex an added attraction.

The complex, developed by Sumitomo, Mori Building, J Front Retailing and L Real Estate is set to open on April 20 and is aiming for ¥60 billion in sales and 20 million visitors annually, the developers said.

The complex will be built on the former location of the Matsuzakaya department store, which had been one of the area’s most famous landmarks for more than 80 years.

The Ginza district has traditionally been known as a popular shopping spot with its large number of department stores.

Ryoichi Yamamoto, president of the Matsuzakaya chain operator J Front Retailing, said his company could have redeveloped the store by itself but sought collaboration with other developers in a bid to bring something new to Ginza.

“We decided that we wouldn’t run a department store in Ginza,” he said, noting that the business model for conventional department stores has become outdated.

The developers said 81 brands will be opening their first Ginza stores in the complex, while about a half of the 241 shops will be flagship stores.

The building, which is scheduled to be constructed using cutting-edge, earthquake-proof technology and equipped with emergency power generators, will also double as a disaster prevention center in the event of crises, the developers said.