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Business

Malaysia's first Seibu shop planned at finance hub

Upmarket Japanese department store brand to target high-income clientele

This Seibu department store operates in Akita, Japan. The high-end brand will be licensed in Malaysia for the first location in that country.

TOKYO -- A four-story department store bearing the name of Seibu, a well-known chain in Japan, will open in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur around 2019, eyeing high-income clientele.

The store will be built in Tun Razak Exchange, a 70-acre campus under development in the city intended to serve as its finance and business center. The first phase of the campus is slated to be finished in 2018. International financial group HSBC Holdings is relocating its Malaysian headquarters to the complex, and major local financial firms will set up shop there as well.

Seibu has built a high-end image in Asia. Its first store in Malaysia will offer items ranging from food to clothing, targeting high-income workers at the financial hub.

Japanese retailers opened department stores around Asia during the 1970s and 1980s, but some of them were closed after the collapse of the country's asset bubble. In 2000, Sogo & Seibu, now the department store arm of Seven & i Holdings, started granting rights to use their store names at Asian locations. Such locations today number 30. They netted roughly 400 billion yen ($3.53 billion at current rates) in sales for fiscal 2016.

The planned Seibu store in Kuala Lumpur will join those ranks. It will be run by Malaysian retailer Sogo (K.L.) Department Store, which has operated a Sogo shop in the city since 1994, mainly catering to the middle class. The company shares no financial ties with Sogo & Seibu, and pays loyalties to the Japanese company for the use of the department store brands.

(Nikkei)

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