Consumers

Robinson Department Store President Alan Thomson has unveiled plans for bold retail therapy in Thailand’s frontier areas and in Vietnam.

Robinson Department Store

Thai retail chain targets neglected markets

BANGKOK -- With shopping malls crowding Bangkok, Thailand's Robinson Department Store chain is looking for expansion opportunities in provincial areas and in Vietnam, where it opened two stores last year. The mid-tier department store and shoppin...

  • Some like it hot

    Japan's toilet seats a hit among Chinese

    TOKYO -- Toilet seats with warm water washing systems were popular among Chinese who visited Japan during China's weeklong Lunar New Year holidays last month. According to Chinese media, some 450,000 Chinese traveled to Japan during the period an...

  • A new drinking class

    India's latest big spenders are turning to wine

    NEW DELHI -- Alcohol consumption in India is breaking free from the constraints formerly placed on its social acceptability by religious conservatism. The new found freedom is leading members of the new middle class to a drink enjoyed by many wealthy...

  • Plastic payments

    Japan credit card use up 10% in 2014

    TOKYO -- Japanese consumers are turning to credit cards. Spending using plastic in 2014 grew 10% from a year earlier to an all-time high of 42.4 trillion yen ($352 billion), according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Credit card transa...

  • Southeast Asian retail

    Small stores on front lines wooed

    MANILA/JAKARTA -- Big businesses, including lenders and convenience chain operators in Southeast Asia, are wooing millions of small grocery stores across the region. They are doing so in a bid to reach consumers outside cities. A 6-sq.-meter stor...

  • Thinking smaller

    Mazda enters compact-SUV fray

    TOKYO -- Mazda Motor began Japanese sales Friday of its first compact sport utility vehicle, a new model designed to meet urban drivers' needs. The CX-3 is short enough in height to fit into automatic multistory car parks. Its length of 4.27 mete...

  • Funds for seniors

    SMBC to offer reverse mortgages in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya

    TOKYO -- Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. will offer reverse mortgages in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya areas starting Monday, aiming to cultivate demand from seniors in Japan's three largest metropolitan areas. Reverse mortgages allow seniors living ...

  • Two-seaters

    Yamaha to make, sell tiny cars in Europe

    TOKYO -- Yamaha Motor plans to make and sell small cars in Europe starting around 2019, President Hiroyuki Yanagi told the Nikkei Thursday. The world's second-biggest motorbike maker will invest tens of billions of yen to set up a plant for two-s...

  • Taiwan's tourism boom

    Luxury hotels battle it out for foreign travelers

    TAIPEI -- A surge in overseas tourists to Taiwan is heating up competition among the capital's high-end hotels as they scramble to woo affluent travelers. About 9.91 million foreign tourists visited Taiwan in 2014, up 24% on the year, due partly ...

  • Biggest shopping season

    Lunar New Year sales turn lackluster in China

    BEIJING -- Retail sales over the weeklong Lunar New Year holidays were rather modest in China, as many people chose to travel abroad. Nationwide retail sales came to 678 billion yuan ($108 billion) for the period, according to the Ministry of Com...

  • Tax hike's waning toll

    Japan's convenience stores see recovery in sales

    TOKYO -- Even as convenience stores in Japan continue to struggle in the wake of the consumption tax hike last April, their sales are showing signs of recovering. Sales at existing convenience stores dipped 0.7% year over year in January, the sma...

  • World Expo 2015

    Milan event ready to welcome Asian tourists

    MILAN -- Take a walk around some of the streets near the iconic Milan Cathedral and you will see the flags of all the nations participating in the Expo Milano 2015. This is just one of the ways you can feel the city gearing up for the event, which st...

  • Tokyo foothold

    Aeon stepping up expansion of discount grocery chain

    TOKYO -- Aeon is accelerating openings of small-scale discount stores with a focus on the greater Tokyo area. With its mainstay general supermarket business slipping into the red, the Japanese retailer aims to leverage the wallet-friendly stores ...

  • Festive seasons

    Companies cash in on Asia's holiday shopping sprees

    TOKYO/MUMBAI/JAKARTA -- Due to its cultural and religious diversity, Asia has many major holiday and festival seasons. And as the region's incomes rise, so too does its holiday spending, creating a wealth of opportunities for businesses. The Luna...

  • On a roll

    Shake Shack arriving in Tokyo next year

    TOKYO -- Hot off its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, Shake Shack, a U.S. hamburger shop chain with a gourmet flair, is coming to Japan. It has signed an exclusive franchising agreement with Sazaby League, a Japanese retail and restaurant ...

  • Hong Kong retail

    Local businesses troubled by conflicts between residents and mainlanders

    HONG KONG -- Hong Kong is struggling to solve conflicts between its citizens and tourists from mainland China. As the number of visitors from the mainland coming to the former British colony surges, squabbles between residents and shoppers from a...

  • Capturing Chinese demand

    Japanese companies launching Net-based services for Lunar New Year

    TOKYO -- Businesses here are preparing for a wave of Chinese tourists during the Lunar New Year holidays starting Wednesday by debuting a host of new Internet-based services. Ad agency Hakuhodo will launch a mobile app on Wednesday with Cybermart...

  • It's after-school lessons for you, kid

    More Southeast Asian parents investing in their children

    TOKYO -- More parents in Southeast Asia are signing up their children for language and music lessons as well as other after-school programs. At the Plaza Indonesia shopping center in central Jakarta, you will find a fully booked 6-year-old boy. T...

  • Happy days in Japan

    Xi's anti-corruption campaign is chasing Chinese holiday shoppers overseas

    SHANGHAI/TOKYO -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign is casting a shadow over Lunar New Year spending in China. The most important spread of holidays for Chinese -- and the country's biggest spending spree -- falls on Feb. 18...

  • New year, new money

    Chinese bringing fortune to Asian neighbors

    SHANGHAI -- The weeklong Lunar New Year holiday in China usually brings with it a wave of consumer spending, fueled by the bonuses offered by many companies. But this year, much of the surge looks likely to be siphoned into Japan and other parts of A...