Black Friday sales make inroads in Japan, but not all retailers are buying in

Japan Times -- Nov 28
The past few years have seen Black Friday sales increasingly make inroads in Japan, buoyed by supermarket chains and e-commerce giants seeking to capitalize on the retail bonanza.

Friday’s event falls on the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and is typically considered the biggest retail sales day in America and the beginning of the Christmas shopping period.

In Japan, public recognition of Black Friday has soared in recent years, with major franchises rolling out discount campaigns.

Participating retailers include general merchandise giants Aeon Co. and Ito-Yokado Co. This year, the former is holding sales at about 500 supermarkets nationwide, while the latter nearly doubled the period of a similar campaign to 14 days, implementing it at about 130 outlets across the nation. Other regular participants include the Japan arm of U.S.-based Toys R Us and electronics retailer Nojima Co.

What originally started in Japan as something of an experimental project — spearheaded by companies like Toys R Us Japan and Aeon from 2014 to 2016 — has since morphed into an annual phenomena now spilling over to prominent shopping site operators.

This year, Amazon Japan, for example, set up a special landing page on its site offering discounts on hundreds of thousands of products, from clothes and food to home appliances. Rakuten Ichiba, an online shopping site operated by Rakuten Inc., has rewarded customers who shopped on its site with extra points, too.