• Jiji


Major Japanese department store operators are poised to move up to year-end the launches of fukubukuro (lucky bags) for 2021 in order to prevent crowds from being formed as a measure against the coronavirus.

The coronavirus crisis is set to change one of the typical New Year’s scenes in Japan in which department stores are flooded with customers aiming to get fukubukuro, a set of various merchandise offered at discounts. A number of people are often seen lining up in front of stores for lucky bags before their opening hours.

Tobu Department Store Co.’s flagship outlet in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district will begin accepting preorders on Dec. 26 in person and online for luxury lucky bags to be sold by lottery. Only one customer will win the right to buy a bag for a whole domestic tuna worth nearly ¥500,000 at the price of ¥300,000. The winner would be able to enjoy different parts of the fish, including very fatty meat, every month through March, according to the store.

Sogo & Seibu Co.’s main Seibu store in Ikebukuro, which usually sells lucky bags for the first three days of January, will extend the period to 17 days, including days at the tail end of 2020. The store will launch sales of its lucky bags on Dec. 26, including only one package worth ¥202,100 containing items such as a hammock. “Demand for goods allowing people to relax at home is growing,” a public relations official of the company said.

Matsuya Co.’s outlet in the upscale Ginza district in Tokyo will sell lucky bags also from Dec. 26, including five bags each priced at ¥66,000 and containing products worth ¥130,000 to ¥180,000, such as a made-to-measure men’s suit from Sun Line Japan Co., an apparel company in the village of Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture.

The limited lucky bags are also aimed at supporting high-end clothing producers facing a fall in demand due to the novel coronavirus crisis, a Matsuya official said.

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