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J. Front Retailing Co., which operates the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores, will strengthen the development of luxury apartments and hotels, President Tatsuya Yoshimoto has said.

“We hope to diversify while keeping our commercial facility business at the center,” Yoshimoto said in a recent interview.

J. Front aims to reduce its heavy reliance on department store and other retail operations hit by a slump in the number of shoppers due to the spread of COVID-19.

Yoshimoto indicated that forming a capital alliance with a company with know-how in areas other than retailing would be an option.

J. Front plans to expand its real estate and financial operations so the sector will account for 40% of the company’s operating profit by fiscal 2030, up from 20% in fiscal 2019.

According to Yoshimoto, the company hopes to develop facilities other than retail stores by using existing assets, such as department store annexes and land where a logistics center used to stand.

In Nagoya, the birthplace of the Matsuzakaya stores, J. Front is developing an apartment building.

“We’ll strengthen our organization so solid profits will be generated,” Yoshimoto said, expressing a wish to boost the company’s operations beyond retailing by recruiting people experienced in other fields and teaming up with other companies.

J. Front has made commercial facility operator Parco Co. a wholly owned subsidiary. J. Front’s retail business portfolio also includes Ginza Six, a commercial complex in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district.

J. Front’s department store operations “have an opportunity to change,” Yoshimoto said, stressing that digitalization is the key.

But he was quick to add, “We won’t become (U.S. online retail giant) Amazon.”

J. Front’s retail operations will remain “based on physical stores and sales clerks,” Yoshimoto said, noting the company’s policy of utilizing its existing advantages, including stores in excellent locations at city centers and solid customer bases, to expand its online retail services.

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