Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Japanese retailers reported mostly dismal first-half earnings results, with the industry stuck in a slump as shoppers remain reluctant to open their wallets even as the economy emerges from recession.
With no sales pick-up in sight, stores seem to have no choice but to continue their race to undercut rivals, with prices dropping for everything from cars to clothes to milk.
On the surface it sounds like a shopper’s paradise: Who wouldn’t mind paying less than 1,000 yen ($11) for a pair of jeans?
I wrote about Japan’s traditional doll industry for the Reuters Luxury Summit this week, and I was surprised to find it’s not feeling much impact from the country’s deepest recession in decades – not bad, considering an average doll set can set you back 200,000 yen ($2,000).
One shop owner I spoke to even said sales had edged up in the all-important shopping season before the Doll Festival on March 3. Sales of some dolls have certainly dropped as consumers have gradually tightened their grip on their purses , but shop owners told me they’d seen solid sales this year of their “hina” dolls – the mainstay of their business.