Why is Marunouchi full of empty designer shops?

I spend a lot of time in this newly poshified business district near Tokyo Station, and I have great fun counting the customers – the average is usually one customer every two shops. I have absolutely no inside evidence on this at all, but I have a theory which seems to match the circumstances that a business student of mine who works round there agreed might be the case.

The whole area is owned by Mitsubishi Fudosan and they have put an awful lot of effort into giving it a whole new image, so it is my theory that they offer (only) designer shops cheap rents to give Marunouchi the cache that they want. Something that backs this up is that there is not a single Uniqlo or even Starbucks in the area – and those and even down and dirty coffee shop chain Doutor are in the actual posh(ish) shopping district of Ginza.



  1. crella said,

    April 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Ugh. They did this to a section of Kobe a few years back (and construction is continuing), a couple of blocks full of Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior etc and the shops are always almost empty. What a waste of some nice real estate. That area is the former location of the Oriental Hotel, the original one, that was demolished because of earthquake damage after the ’95 quake.

  2. alexcase said,

    April 26, 2013 at 6:24 am

    At least with Marunouchi the area had absolutely nothing at all going for it before the changes…

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