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Mitsukoshi eyes increased Japanese brand presence in PHL


By Arjay L. Balinbin, Corporate Editor

JAPAN-BASED department store chain Mitsukoshi is gearing up to introduce more Japanese brands and local partnerships at its Philippine branch Mitsukoshi BGC, a company official said.

“What we are trying to do in Mitsukoshi BGC is to become a place where you can find and experience a bit of Japan, and where also new value is created through a combination of Filipino culture and Japanese culture,” Momoko Umemura, manager at Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd.’s corporate real estate department, said in a media briefing in Tokyo on May 29. 

“Mitsukoshi BGC is becoming one of the starting points for Japanese companies to start their business in the Philippines,” she added.

Set to delight Filipinos is the Japanese treat anmitsu, a classic chilled dessert featuring white, semi-translucent jelly. This delicacy will be available for P450.

Mitsukoshi BGC is also expanding its selection of Japanese rice wines. Among the new offerings are the Kakurei Junmai Ginjo, priced at P1,980, and the Gangi Junmai Dai Ginjo Yunagi, which will be available for P2,980.

“It’s not only about Japanese companies. We’re trying to co-create new value and synergy. One good example is the collaboration between Mitsukoshi Fresh and Auro Chocolate,” Ms. Umemura said. Auro Chocolate is a premium bean-to-bar chocolate brand in the Philippines.

She added that the company is also looking to partner with more local suppliers.

Mitsukoshi BGC, the first Japanese mall in the Philippines established in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig, in 2022, recently introduced 15 new brands, bringing the total number of purely Japanese brands to 38.

Japanese furniture retailer Nitori also recently opened its store in Mitsukoshi BGC.

The origins of Mitsukoshi trace back to 1673, during Japan’s Edo period, when Takatoshi Mitsui, a visionary businessman, established the Kimono Fabric store “Echigoya” in Edo, now known as Tokyo.

In 1904, the department store declaration was issued, saying: “We aim to pursue the improvement of customer satisfaction and convenience by providing the latest business presentations and assortment of cutting-edge department products.” Consequently, Mitsukoshi established itself as Japan’s pioneering department store. Its flagship store is situated in Nihonbashi, a vibrant commercial district renowned for its iconic 17th century canal bridge.

Mitsukoshi BGC, a commercial facility located in the basement of a residential building, is a partnership between local company Federal Land, Inc., the property arm of the Ty-led conglomerate GT Capital Holdings, Inc., and Japan’s Nomura Real Estate (NRE) Development and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings.

Their mixed-use residential and commercial development project “was designed based on a Japanese concept and received the highest award in the Residential High-rise Development category at the International Property Awards, recognizing outstanding real estate projects worldwide,” said Masato Yamauchi, director and head of NRE’s overseas business division, during a briefing.

“Through managing this property, we aim to continually enhance the lifestyle offerings in Manila, providing a uniquely Japanese experience to the Filipino community,” he added. The residential tower, named “The Seasons Residences,” features units named “Haru” (spring), “Natsu” (summer), “Aki” (autumn),” and “Fuyu” (winter), representing Japan’s four seasons.

“As seen, there are a lot of things to look forward to, a lot of products that will come soon to the shores of Mitsukoshi BGC,” said Charmaine N. Bauzon, commercial business group head at Federal Land NRE Global, Inc.

“We will not stop at just these products. I think we will continue to surprise our Filipino customers,” she added.

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