Muji fresh concept may launch in Hong Kong

Japanese anti-brand retailer Muji will consider launching its new Muji fresh concept in Hong Kong once it has refined the offer in Japan.

Kei Suzuki, director and executive officer of Muji parent Ryohin Keikaku told Inside Retail Hong Kong that East Asia and Southeast Asia were important markets for the now global Japanese retailer – and Hong Kong was one of its most successful markets outside Japan.  

“At first we have to see what is going to happen in Japan, but I believe the Muji customer … is keen to have a good fresh product,” said Suzuki, one of the leading speakers at yesterday’s MarketingPulse conference, organised by the HKTDC.

The first Muji fresh store opened inside a giant new Osaka Muji store on Tuesday. While the company has offered dried foods, snacks and other foods since it was founded in 1980, this is the first time it has ventured into fresh produce.

Suzuki says Muji customers are in tune with freshness, sustainability, supporting local farmers and suppliers – and they want quality. He is confident the Osaka concept store will win over customers.  

“Once we see that we are successful then I’m hoping – if Hong Kong customers want to have fresh – I also want to try it here in the future. But it has not been decided yet.”

The key things are as much as possible do we realise the Muji concept want to be helpful to our customers. If we develop it, we want to do it, yes.”

He asked Inside Retail if we thought Muji fresh would work in Hong Kong and seemed to agree that it is a tough market for food, especially when a significant proportion of the populations still shops at wet markets.

If Muji does extend into fresh here, it would consider sourcing locally as well as from Japan. Again, he reverted to the company’s mantra of listening to its customers and delivering the products they want.

Meanwhile, Muji has emerged unscathed from the last four years of tumult in Hong Kong’s retail sector.

“Of course there were some ups and downs, but Muji is more like a daily necessity store. So, we were less affected.

“Our products are not luxurious. If we were selling more expensive goods, we would have been affected more.”

It certainly did not affect Muji’s two travel concept stores trading in Hong Kong – one at the airport and one at Hong Kong Station. Both are doing “very well,” Suzuki said.

“I think they provide good solutions for the travellers.”

Marketing and retail focus

Suzuki was one of three speakers during the opening session of the MarketingPulse event, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. He shared the stage with Uri Minkoff, brother of fashion designer Rebecca, with whom he launched a fashion retail concept under her name in 2001.

Minkoff outlined the company’s innovations in social media, its experiential retail concept store and how it was using Internet of Things technology to inspire and engage with customers. We’ll have further coverage of that in days to come.

Other presenters during the day focused on marketing and advertising in the modern consumer age, consumer trends in Mainland China, customer engagement and data-driven marketing and advertising.

A large number of retailers were in the audience during parts of the event.

Cecilia Chok from King Fook Jewellery was impressed by the program – especially Minkoff – and by the way the venue was prepared.

Yesterday’s MarketingPulse was a sell-out, a rousing endorsement of the HKTDC’s vision for an event targeting brand owners, marketing experts and the creative community. A repeat has already been confirmed for March 20, next year.

More than 40 speakers from nine countries were included in the line-up on the mainstage and in secondary breakout sessions.


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