HONG KONG – Japanese-style department and supermarket store operator Yata Ltd. is constantly bringing hot new food products from Japan to the highly competitive Hong Kong market.
About 60 percent of merchandize at its outlets is imported from Japan or sourced from Japanese businesses operating in Hong Kong, according to Yata’s chief.
“We always introduce something new regardless of cost,” CEO Susanna Wong said.
Yata is the retail arm of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., a major developer in the Chinese territory. After buying out Japanese chain Seiyu GK in 2005, the developer renamed the retail arm Yata in 2008. The term was derived from the Japanese phrase “yatta,” meaning “I made it.”
Yata has opened more stores since then by riding the growing popularity of quality Japanese food and other products.
In fact, Japanese melons and peaches are quite popular in Hong Kong, with Yata in early June quickly selling out of 23 heart-shaped melons from Kumamoto Prefecture that cost a hefty HK$998 ($127) each.
“Fruits are the most popular category among our lineup, with 60 percent of them coming from Japan,” Wong said, adding a wide variety of Japanese confectionery and beverages are also immensely popular.
She said demand for Japanese food is strong because they mean good quality, a sense of safety and creativity.
At some Yata outlets, Japanese sake bars offer a glass of the alcohol in the hope it will become popular in the coming years.
Yata plans to reopen its department store in Sha Tin, the New Territories, in the latter half of this year after its renewal, and open a supermarket at a newly developed commercial facility in North Point in 2019.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5