Cool photoshop by Tokyo Genso
If you’ve read the Doll for a while, you’ll know two things that gets under my craw are: 1. Negativity to others in the Overseas Gal world 2. Bad reporting about gals.
Now there is really bad reporting:
cnngo got themselves the same Mekas guy who was wrong about both gals and oraora-kei. He went off again in the article gyaru gaki on unwed mothers, like a 1950s muckraker. So yet again cnngo shows itself as the pinnacle of journalism by choosing a reporter with bias to report on something. Kudos.
And then there is not enough research and meat-of-a-story reporting:
Which is the topic of today’s blog post.
Miruku linked to a new Japan Times article that for the most part uses statistics to back up their conclusions. The problem is, we all know statistics can be used to further a point that isn’t true. Correlation doesn’t equal Causation.
The Japan Times article: Shibuya 109 Eyes Rebound
Please feel free to read it here and we’ll go from there
In fiscal 2009 the commercial icon experienced a year-on-year decrease in sales for the first time in 14 year …a drop of somewhere between 5 percent and 9 percent in the business year that ended in March
This is a fine statistic and could be a cause for worry if people didn’t consider
a) the financial crisis
b) less teens because of Japan’s declining birthrate
c) the prevailing trends of teen stores as a whole (compare this to say stores at LaForet). The WWD article on Japanese teens dwindling play money sheds light on this.
d) the expansion and sometimes over expansion of gal brands within Tokyo.
I am not sure if this is a decrease in sales for gal overall. Since 109 has opened 3 other gal malls have opened up: Shinjuku Alta, Lumine EST and Ueno ABAB.
…does a retail chain really need 3 stores in Tokyo? Much less the amount that Mars and Liz Lisa have. Not to mention the stores also in Yokohama and Chiba, the big commuter cities of Tokyo. Or the discount gal stores found in open area malls in Nakano and Ueno. Also, now they’re getting competition even now from Donki (via blooomzy).
In some ways gal stores did this to themselves. In the boom years they over-expanded and in the lean years they’re paying for it.
I know people think of gal sometimes as this minor trend within Japanese fashion. But GAL is HUUUUUUGE. And the brands are making bank:
Shibuya 109, run by TMD Corp., which is owned by Tokyu Corp., doubled its sales over the past 13 years.
In contrast, annual sales at major department stores have fallen continuously for the past 13 years.
While lolita and other Harajuku styles make waves overseas, gal is massive. Think about the sheer amount of people in employs each year. AGEHA and POPTEEN are both in the top 5 of women’s magazine sales.
I cannot overemphasize that enough.
Then the article speaks about changes.
Nearly a third of the stores undergo remodeling or are replaced every year, according to 109.
This sounds like an obscene amount to the casual reader. However, let’s look at these stores that remodeled in 2009: W♥C, Gilfy, Liz Lisa, Swordfish, Duras, ReDark and Egoist.
Are these brands with sagging sales? Redark with its sophomore slump, yes. But W♥C? No way! Liz Lisa and Gilfy I have my doubts about as well.
As far as replacement, well I think that is Tokyu corp. doing wrong in 2009.
“We would like our tenants to do business where their brand identities stand out.” – 109’s General Manager
Well I’d like that, too. But the Tokyu experimental “stage brands” are the ones who got replaced this year. Tokyu needs to take a look at itself.
It sounds so dire, but is it any store with brand recognition leaving 109? The only one I could think of last year is Buzz Spunky.
Gal is still going strong, it just forgot it needed to check itself and make sure expansion fit with consumption.