Even if the electricity shortages were not enough, the economic reality that Tokyoites are not doing much shopping during this major catastrophe has prompted many corporate leaders to evaluate where their firms’ resources are best used.
While some retailers remain open in Tokyo, like La Foret in trendy Harajuku and Marui (OIOI), many fashion retailers – both Japanese and foreign – have closed altogether until the situation in Tokyo improves. These include: Isetan, Lumine, Takashimaya, H&M, Richemont and Abercrombie & Fitch.
For example, Swedish fashion chain Hennes and Mauritz AB (H&M) has temporarily closed nine of its 10 stores in Japan. A company official said the company closed its nine stores, all located in the Tokyo area, earlier this week because its employees were anxious about Japan’s nuclear crisis. Another store planned to open Saturday has been postponed. H&M also operates a store in Osaka, but that location remains open.
“We are following the situation,” said Hakan Andersson, an H&M spokesman. He said the company is taking a “wait and see” stance.
Abercrombie & Fitch, which temporarily closed its one store in Tokyo, offered to help its Japanese employees leave Tokyo and surrounding areas and relocate further south also due to growing fears of radiation. “They have offered to help us in the Tokyo if we are scared of staying here,” said an employee of the store.
As an additional precautionary measure, foreign executives of such firms as Cartier, Gucci, and H&M have left Japan for safer surroundings, and have chosen temporarily to relocate their offices elsewhere.
Expecting an improvement in safety and in the electrical supply in Tokyo, many fashion retailers have already stated their plans to reopen their retail operations and their head-offices in Tokyo at the start of the shortened work week March 22.
In Tokyo since 2003 Timothy Schepis of TokyoFashionDaily is “the voice for retail fashion.” Through his constantly expanding network he is on the inside of Japan’s competitive and complex retail fashion industry looking out.