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Look don't buy: Japan reinvents the department store

Marui Group transforms its business model to focus on delivering experiences

For decades now, department store operator Marui has succeeded by catering to new generations of the hip, young and fashionable. (Photo by Kohei Fujimura)

TOKYO -- One of Japan's big department store operators is reinventing its business model by converting prime real estate in its stores into showrooms where customers look but don't buy.

That is only half of the rethink. While Marui Group's shoppers are invited in to have their measurements taken, to test digital equipment or to trade anime collectibles, they are also hit up about applying for credit cards.

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