Economy and yen defuse “explosive” Chinese shopping in Japan


(Source: Retail in Asia | 24 February 2016)

Chinese tourists spent less in Tokyo shops during the Lunar New Year holidays compared with a year earlier, retailers said, as a stronger yen and slower economic growth at home discouraged the kind of “explosive buying” that became a buzzword in 2015.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings said its stores served around 50 percent more international duty-free shoppers during 7-13 February compared with the same holiday week last year due to a spike in customers from mainland China, but each spent 15 percent less than a year ago.

Shopping by Chinese tourists at department stores and electronics shops in 2015 created a buzzword, “bakugai”, or explosive buying, and came as a boon for Japanese retailers smarting from decades of sluggish demand from domestic consumers. But China’s economic growth fell in 2015 to a 25-year low and stock markets slumped in the middle of the year, raising uncertainty about the outlook for the economy – impacting Chinese buying abroad this year.


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