First foreign shopping mall opens in Japan

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TOKYO--American Malls Inc. became the first foreign mall operator to set up shop in Japan when it opened a mall southwest of Tokyo on November 27.

The 36-store mall is called "Xcite World- Market Place" and is located about 50 km southwest of Tokyo in the Yokohama suburb of Sagamihara. The total floor space of the new mall is 12,000 square meters and it is located adjacent to a commuter train station. AMI is forecasting sales of between $58 million and $67 million during the first year in operation.

Shopping malls and outlet stores are being built across Japan at an ever increasing rate. There were only a handful of malls a decade ago but since April 1994 109 malls were opened in Japan, according to a study by Nikkei Research Institute on Industry and Markets. The survey found the malls offer better prices then department stores and regional shopping areas because of their efficiency. There are plans to build an additional 182 malls over the next few years in order to meet demand, it said.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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