Japan's Muji aims to open up to eight Canadian stores in five years

Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:09pm EDT
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By Atsuko Kitayama

TORONTO (REUTERS) - Japanese retailer Muji aims to build a network of seven or eight stores across Canada over the next five years, part of a broader plan to generate more revenue outside its home market, a senior executive told Reuters.

Muji, which expects to open its first Canadian store in November in Toronto, wants to have more stores overseas than in Japan within the next two years.

At the end of February, the unit of Ryohin Keikaku Co Ltd (7453.T: Quote) operated 255 stores outside of its home country, including 100 in China, according to its website. This compared with 385 stores in Japan.

The retailer would like to see that proportion of domestic to international stores reverse, Toru Tsunoda, president of Muji Canada, said in a Japanese-language interview.

"I hope to open seven to eight (Canadian) stores in the next five years," he said. "But opening one store a year may be a realistic goal because we want to open (each) new location carefully."

"When it reaches the certain level, we could accelerate," he added.

Muji, short for Mujirushi Ryohin, literally means "no-brand quality products." The chain offers a wide variety of household items, from kitchen appliances to sofas, as well as consumer products and basic apparel.

The retailer has been looking abroad as Japan's aging population weighs on sales. It has also had to contend with a sales tax increase there in April.   Continued...