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A new rising sun, with taste and of precision

By the statue of lion at Mitsukoshi BGC, led by Federal Land Chairman Alfred V. Ty.

Any regular visitor to Japan with a taste for good food and fashion, will gush about the Japanese department stores and their Food Halls – traditionally in the Lower Ground or Basement 1 levels of the store. And when you’re talking Japanese department stores, one of the grander names would be the Isetan-Mitsukoshi group. With a rich history that spans over three centuries, Mitsukoshi was among the first Japanese department stores that adapted to the Western concept, while improving on the format, and maintaining a strong Asian feel – which has resulted in its successful expansion to other countries.

Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano with Federal Land President & CEO William Mirasol.

The Mitsukoshi brand can rival Harrod’s in London, Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, or El Corte Ingles in Spain, as that global department store that sets a high standard and will be emulated by others. Federal Land, here in the Philippines, was well aware of this when as far back as eight years ago, discussions commenced on bringing the brand to the Philippines. And just in time for this year’s holiday season, Mitsukoshi BGC is ready to open its doors to an anticipating public, at The Seasons Residences, BGC.

It’s Federal Land, Inc., Nomura Real Estate Development Co. Ltd., and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd.. making this happen – Japan’s well-loved brand now on it’s soft opening, and giving the public a taste of what the potential is when you blend the best of Japanese retail sensibility, with the richness of the offerings that the Philippines can put on the table. There’s always been a closeness between the two cultures, so it’s just logical to have the two work together and become the anchor establishment of Federal Land’s The Seasons Residences, and it’s four towers of residential units.

For the history buffs out there, Isetan Mitsukoshi traces it’s provenance all the way back to the Edo-period, and how in 1673, it began as a Kimono fabric Store. And that’s precisely why The Seasons Residences will host one last Open House this year, that’s themed a Kimono Christmas. It’s Filipino culture and Japanese tradition finding common ground to celebrate – and this was held on November 19.

During the post-lunch Media event.

There was an event held to commemorate this Mitsukoshi BGC soft opening, and it was led by no other than Alfred Ty, Chairman of Federal Land Inc., and William Mirasol, President and CEO of Federal Land Inc., along with executives of both Nomura and Isetan Mitsukoshi, and graced by the presence of Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano. A splendid lunch hosted by Prologue, with Japanese chef Hiroyuki Meno, was served after we were given a tour of what the mall will look like.

During said tour, I was struck by how this collaboration with Mitsukoshi is its own unique form of property development. Rather than go for a standard department set-up, which is what we would expect; Mitsukoshi will be managing the four-story mall area that will exist as the commercial area of The Seasons Residences.

Scenes from Mitsukoshi BGC.

It’s an open store concept, with expansive areas, some of which are devoted to specialty food concepts that are Japanese in origin, and will be available to the Filipino consumer for the very first time. Mitsukoshi Beauty can be found on the Ground level, and it boasts of several brands that are highly popular in Japan but have not been retailed here in Manila. E Standard is one such brand, and it’s used as amenity personal care products in some of the more discriminating five-star hotels and lounges around the world. It’s a Mitsukoshi Beauty Exclusive, and the packaging alone was very impressive.

E Standard, a Mitsukoshi Beauty Exclusive

Mitsukoshi Fresh is their supermarket concept, and I loved how the SKU’s include several brands of beverages and snack products of Japanese origin. This Fresh concept occupies the central area of the basement, and it’s an island surrounded by more food concepts that allow snacking and serious eating while doing your grocery-shopping. In this regard, it assimilates what you’d find in the Mitsukoshi’s in Tokyo and Osaka. Can’t wait for this area to be fully operational.

As a soft opening, it was evident that the mall area is still in flux and it’ll take a couple of months to bring everything to fruition. But if the event was about promise and the near-future; then this was clearly a case of promise fulfilled, and a new fresh face for retail here in the Philippines. Congratulations to Federal Land, Nomura, and Isetan Mitsukoshi. The lion statue that will greet you at the entrance of Mitsukoshi BGC is ruling a brand new retail kingdom that will open eyes, and set new standards.


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