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Japan|Why have Department Store Private Brands been Unsuccessful?

Feb 6, 2019.Ichiro KumegawaTokyo, JP
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Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings’ private brand, BPQC officially announced the brand’s termination by the end of spring and summer 2019. BPQC started in the 2000 lasting for 18 years with a rather high regards as an experimental fashion brand from Isetan. I had a conversation with Mr. Yukio Fujimaki (who passed away in 2014) was a famous buyer for the brand.
"What is BPQC’s regular selling rate? "
"It’s off the record, but around 20% and regarded as the lowest in Isetan’s history." says Mr. Fujimaki.

With his passing and the brand’s disappearance, I think this is the right timing to share what he had regardless that it’s off the record. Although Mr. Fujimaki was popular as a charismatic buyer and a wonderful human being, his ability as a buyer were clearly insufficient. However department store buyers in Japan in general is lacking as a whole. I take that back. Mr. Fujimaki was dispatched to New York's BARNEYS cooperatively with Isetan to “expand his repertoire”  for quite some time and is therefore, a better buyer compared to an average Japanese one. It’s difficult to select products, plan and produce the results. I think that this episode will make it easier for buyers in department stores to choose brands that have already survived an intense competition among brands that are already selling.

Last year, Sogo / Seibu suspended their private brand, LIMITED EDITION, but it will also be abolished soon. As a survival measure of a department store, there were: 1.) promoting as a developer to convert to a mall, 2.) effectively use store brand power = promotion of their EC = making good use of an omni channel strategy, 3.) strengthening of the private brand strategy, however the third point seems to have been ineffective.

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