Japan's retail sales rose more than expected in December as consumers increased spending on clothes, which may ease some concern about the outlook for private consumption at a time of growing pressure on the economy.
Japan’s economy is gathering steam, profits are at record levels and companies are poised to raise wages, yet retailers are struggling to lift prices for fear of losing customers used to nearly two decades of deflation.
Pola has apologised for a sign banning entry for Chinese people posted in one of its outlets, highlighting the hostility to foreign visitors from some in Japan as it strives to extend a shopping-driven tourism boom.
The Japanese label is readying its first European store for a December opening in Paris. Bape (aka A Bathing Ape) will move into a space on 34 rue de la Verrerie, next to the BHV Homme department store.
Japan's cautious consumers are starting to loosen up, spending more and offering hope that domestic demand - and not just exports - will be strong enough to reflate an economy that has been sluggish for many years.