Japan’s department stores revamping displays to attract kids and working parents

Kyodo

Remodeled children’s floors in major department stores are seen as a growth pillar that could help revive sales, attracting working parents who are willing to spend more on their kids.

Customer traffic has increased following changes in the way baby items are displayed, grouping them by category or children’s age, rather than categorizing them by brand. New services, including Lego block courses, have also yielded positive results amid the trend of fathers becoming more involved in child-rearing.

The Takashimaya department store chain has renovated its baby item sections in six outlets since September last year. Sales at five of the six stores in the year through August have soared roughly 24 percent from a year earlier.

A variety of buggies now feature adjustable handles able to accommodate use by taller men, as well as women. The children’s floor “has become the entrance (of department stores) for women in their 30s who have given birth,” a Takashimaya official said.

In March, Takashimaya’s Shinjuku outlet in Tokyo remodeled its baby item section so customers can pick products by use or child’s age rather than brand. Part of the floor for early elementary school children was also renovated in September.

“As you can buy anything online nowadays, we hope to provide a place where you can experience all kinds of things at our store,” an official at the Shinjuku outlet said. The store is also planning to set up a space where children can practice rock-climbing and jump rope.

In an annex of the Sogo department store in the city of Chiba, which was partially renovated in September, children can now take Lego block courses. The outlet plans to open a space soon where families can play table tennis.

“We hope our children’s floor will become a magnet for moms, dads and grandparents,” a Sogo official said.