Japanese lifestyle specialty store operator The Loft Co. will debut in the Chinese market by opening its first directly owned overseas outlet in Shanghai possibly in July.

The Loft signed a tenancy contract last Friday with the operator of the Metro City shopping mall in the Xujiahui district in the heart of the city, a spokeswoman told NNA on Monday.

The Japanese retailer established a Shanghai subsidiary in February to run the store, which will sell cosmetics, stationery and character items among other products, she said.

The move comes as The Loft "seeks for growth for the next 30 years" after expanding its network across to Japan to nearly 130 stores, the spokeswoman said, adding the firm aims to open a total of six outlets in China by 2023.

The Loft will also open a store at the LaLaport Shanghai mall being developed by major Japanese real estate firm Mitsui Fudosan Co. to coincide with the mall's scheduled opening next year, she added.

The Tokyo-based retailer had initially planned to open its first Chinese shop in Chengdu, Sichuan province, but its opening is being rescheduled for December due to the coronavirus outbreak and a delay in the construction of a designated commercial facility, the spokeswoman said.