Japan’s Tokutokuya partners with Gaisano shopping malls

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Kelvin C. Gaisano (R), vice-president for direct investment of DSG Sons Group, gives Masayuki Matsumoto, chief operating officer of ECI Co. Ltd., Davao-made Malagos chocolates as token during the launch of the Tokutokuya Store at the 4th level of Gaisano Mall Davao on Dec. 10. -- MAYA M. PADILLO

DAVAO CITY — Japan’s ECI Co. Ltd., owner of the Tokutokuya chain of retail stores, has tapped Gaisano-owned DSG Sons Group as the exclusive Philippine franchisee with five Gaisano shopping malls in Mindanao set as location for the initial branches.

DSG Sons Group Vice-President for Direct Investments Kelvin C. Gaisano said the Japanese discount store, known as the ‘100 Yen shop’ and carries a wide range of dry goods as well as food and drinks, will be one of the anchor tenants in the Gaisano malls.

The first Tokutokuya Store in the Philippines was formally launched on Dec. 10 at the fourth level of Gaisano Mall of Davao (City) and the second one is set for opening on Dec. 15 in Digos City, Davao del Sur.

The company has lined up other branches in General Santos City, Tagum City in Davao del Norte, and another one in Davao City at the Gaisano Toril mall.

Mr. Gaisano said the challenge they are addressing with the Tokutokuya Stores is determining which Japanese products the Filipino market wants.

“It’s a very complicated business because of the number of items. We have to learn what Filipinos prefer on Japanese products. The items are mostly from Japan and designed by Japanese so the quality’s pretty good,” said Mr. Gaisano in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the opening ceremony.

In the past several weeks of the first branch’s operation, prior to the formal launch, Mr. Gaisano said they have so far seen that among the best-sellers is the Japanese beer Sapporo.

“For awhile naubusan na kami ng (we ran out of) some items because we didn’t expect the reception to be this good. I think one of our best-sellers is the Sapporo beer because of the movie Kita Kita, so every time we refill naubos agad (it quickly gets sold out),” he said.

Mauro Carmona, Jr., operations manager of the Gaisano malls’ specialty stores, said they are aiming to go beyond the “trendy” and to offer products “fitted for the needs of the market.”

“It (Tokutokuya) has a wide range of items, it’s not just limited to being a budget shop, but also it caters to premium items,” Mr. Carmona said.

Mr. Gaisano said they will continue to study “what’s selling and what’s not,” evaluating the potential for opening more branches.

Mr. Carmona said it is possible that other branches would be set up outside Gaisano malls.

Aside from the Philippines, Tokutokuya Stores are located in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Russia. — Maya M. Padillo