In part 1, the topic of discussion was the remodeling of the 3rd Mode floor. Part 2 is regarding the grand re-opening on Mar. 6th and the future of department stores.
-Introducing a new style of everyday life
One of the highlights is that the main entrance of the store is going to have a complete renewal. Looking at the current entrance facing Shinjuku Street, we find that there is no particular characteristic to the entrance; it is merely a convenient means to enter the store. For the renovation, the entrance will be renewed back to how it was when the store opened 80 years ago. The underlying concept is to go back to its roots and bring back the good qualities that are not shining through in the current state.
This is advantageous for two reasons. Firstly, our current era is approaching a turning point and the focus is on the meaning of “revising one’s occupation”. This does not mean looking back into the past and wishing for the “good old days”, but reflecting on essence and evaluating the business to rediscover innate strengths. Without doing this and just taking on new challenges or diversifying to become a general store is meaningless.
Secondly, as a department store I think it is important to have a threshold in a positive sense. Under the economic downturn, many businesses are competing with each other fiercely, making the characteristics of department stores fade. Instead of lowering the threshold, it should be set towards something positive and as a result it becomes possible to differentiate by accentuating fortes.
The plan for the new main entrance of Isetan Shinjuku is a stairwell reaching the second floor with elegant chandeliers and brass doors. The store being classic in an orthodox way and elegantly graceful, it invites customers with open doors. This store has the dignity required for a department store.
-Future prospects for department stores are?
When asking Mr. Naka about the future of department stores, he provided me with 4 keywords: globalization, becoming mode, personalization, and becoming public. In addition to being the best domestically, the store aims to become global. In order to send out valuable information to customers overseas, the store has set up Isetan Park net (IPn). “I felt the need for a role mimicking a broadcasting channel. In the near future within IPn, I am hoping that our staff could come into our store and tape our floors with cameras and send the images overseas. I think that would be interesting”, says Mr. Naka.
Whilst promoting mode that is overwhelming, the store also suggests products and services that meet the personal needs of customers. The store continues to be a public entity towards the city and community. Mr. Naka emphasizes, “We want to create a revolution in the world of wearing”. If this goal is met, there is bound to be a bright future for department stores. I left the interview feeling very refreshed.
【Profile of Yoko Kawashima】
Born in Niigata in 1961. After graduating Waseda University with a degree in commerce, completes merchandising courses at Bunka Fashion College. Joins itochu fashion system co., ltd in 1984. Analyzing the trends of consumers and markets through fashion, she engages in the development of brands and designs. On the other hand, she writes articles for newspapers and magazines such as THE DAILY YOMIURI, Nikkei MJ, Senken Shimbun and Brain. She also wrote books including “BEAMS” (PHP) “Isetan・Story Senryaku” (PHP) and “Shacho to Lunch” (POPLAR PUBLISHING CO., LTD)
Yoko Kawashima Interviews Yoji Naka, Store Manager of Isetan Shinjuku 2/2
Published： Feb 15, 2013, 9:20AM JST
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