August 30, 2014 2:52 am JST

Japan's largest furniture chain to open 100 stores in China by 2022

TOKYO -- Nitori Holdings, operator of Japan's largest chain of furniture and interior goods stores, has plotted out a multistore expansion plan in China that begins in October with one store and reaches 100 shops by 2022.

     The Nitori stores will feature products that are inexpensive even by local standards and geared toward married couples in their 20s and 30s. Whereas rivals like Ikea concentrate in the big coastal cities, the company will locate its stores more widely in regional cities inland and elsewhere where there is little competition and a growing middle class with rising incomes.

     Nitori plans to begin by opening stores inside shopping centers and similar commercial complexes. It will start to open stores at a quicker pace after it has gained recognition as a tenant in these kinds of facilities.

     The first store will open inside a shopping center in the interior city of Wuhan. With just 2,000 sq. meters of floor space, it will be just one-half to one-third the size of stores Nitori operates in Japan. But it will carry some 4,000 to 5,000 items, ranging from dining tables and cabinets to tablecloths, eating utensils and other sundries, and there will be fully furnished showrooms on display to draw in customers.

     Since homes in China tend to be larger than in Japan, the stores will feature a full selection of large furniture including products that Nitori developed for the American market.

     The goal is to keep prices of hot-selling products cheap, in line with the region's low-priced products. It will manufacture goods in China through cooperating factories and at its own plants in Vietnam and Indonesia.

     In addition to carrying the same kind of furniture and sundries sold in Japan, Nitori might also develop products geared specifically for China.