• Kyodo

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Black Friday sales have recently been taking root in Japan and this year the nation’s retailers are expecting customers to go on a shopping spree following last year’s weak sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japanese retailers started embracing Black Friday — which falls the day after U.S. Thanksgiving and marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season in a growing number of countries — around 2016. Friday is the start of this year’s Black Friday sales period and major brands and retailers across the country are once again launching sales campaigns to lure customers to their stores and websites.

Amazon Japan, for example will set up a special landing page on its site from Friday through Dec. 2, with discounts on hundreds of thousands of products, from clothes and food to home appliances.

Amazon Japan’s consumer survey showed that many people are frustrated with pandemic restrictions and want to treat themselves.

“We want to offer products that will make customers enjoy something luxurious,” said Koji Suzuki, who is overseeing Amazon Japan’s campaign.

Meanwhile, Rakuten Ichiba, an online shopping site operated by Rakuten Inc., rewarded customers who shopped on its site from Nov. 18 until Tuesday (Nov. 23) with extra points. It also introduced some products via a live streaming event, giving out coupons to customers who watched the video.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. started its Black Friday campaign exclusively for online shoppers from Nov. 10 through Monday (Nov. 29). The department store launched its first Black Friday campaign last year to reach out to customers who were not comfortable visiting brick and mortar stores due to the pandemic. When it comes to sales of high-end items, store clerks have been approaching customers via its app.

Black Friday sales are also taking place in physical stores as well.

Major supermarket chain operator Ito-Yokado Co. launched sales at its 130 outlets nationwide for 14 days from Nov. 17, nearly doubling the period from last year.

Retail giant Aeon Co. is also holding a sale for up to 10 days from Nov. 19 at about 500 supermarkets nationwide, while supermarket operator Seiyu’s nine-day sale began Saturday. An average 13% discount is available on around 230 products at Seiyu, including groceries and daily necessities.

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