Shoppers flock to department stores on 1st business day of year
Japan Today -- Jan 03
Major department stores were inundated with bargain-hunting shoppers on their first business day of the year Tuesday.

Although some retailers opened on New Year's Day, the nation's big department stores were closed.

Shoppers flocked to the stores to snap up fukubukuro (lucky bags). The lucky bag is a Japanese tradition where department stores and shops fill bags with random leftover goods from the past year and sell them at a sizeable discount.

The tradition is said to come from a Japanese proverb that says "There is fortune in leftovers (Nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru)." The value of the items is often 50% more than the selling price. The retail price can range from 5,000 yen to hundreds of thousands of yen and even higher in luxury brand stores.

At Seibu department store in Ikebukuro, shoppers lined up hours before the store opened at 9:30 a.m. Store officials said that an estimated 2,000 people entered the store in the first hour of business and were expecting a 5% increase in sales over last Jan 2. Seibu prepared 150,000 fukubukuro with 1,500 different kinds of merchandise. This year being 2018, Seibu offered a lucky bag for 2,018,000 yen.

Similar long lines were also seen outside Takashimaya and Isetan department stores in Shinjuku, and Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya in Nihombashi, as well as Matsuya and Mitsukoshi department stores in Ginza.

東京のデパートなどで2日から初売りが始まり、朝から目当ての福袋を巡る激しい争奪戦が繰り広げられました。 福袋を買った女性:「3個買うつもりが、5個買っちゃいました」 「松屋銀座」では、10万円相当のコートなどが入った1万800円の福袋、限定70個が1分ほどで売り切れました。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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