• Reuters


More than a dozen stores closed in Tokyo's high-end Ginza Six mall this week as the coronavirus pandemic kept big spending foreign tourists and other luxury shoppers away from an upscale shopping district famous for brand-name boutiques.

Ginza Six said on Wednesday that around 15 stores, including Italian fashion house Moschino, cosmetics brands Shiseido and Shu Uemura, as well as Salon des Parfums selling Annick Goutal and other fragrance brands, have shut in the past few days.

The retail complex opened in 2017 with around 240 stores, mostly in the luxury category and catering heavily to foreign visitors, with a large service center offering tax refund processing and luggage storage.

Until the pandemic closed Japan off to most tourists last year, the retail complex was a symbol of the Ginza district's revival as a popular destination for Asian tourists. Ginza had struggled with deflation and shoppers' shift to other areas such as Omotesando until an inbound tourism surge in the past decade.

But global travel bans have kept foreign visitor numbers at 1%-2% of year-ago levels since last April, according to data from JTB Tourism & Consulting.

Department stores in central Tokyo, heavily dependent on tourists in the past several years, have been hit particularly hard. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings' same-store sales fell more than 30% in 2020, with sales for its Mitsukoshi Ginza store down over 50%.

Investors in Ginza Six included Japanese department store operator J.Front Retailing, trading house Sumitomo Corp. and the real estate arm of U.S. private equity firm L Catterton.

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