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Japan’s largest furniture chain, NITORI, opens its first store in the Philippines: Here’s what to expect

By Susan Claire Agbayani Published Apr 22, 2024 5:08 pm

For better or for worse, the pandemic that lasted several years made homebodies of us. And after the veil was lifted, so many of us opted to continue working from home. We discovered that there was virtue in staying home, after all. And that situation behooved us to make home life as comfortable as possible. Maybe that explains the long lines at the opening of the world’s largest furniture chain years ago, which chose the Philippines as its site. 

Aren’t we such suckers for what is “zen”? Clean, clear, crisp lines; neutral colors; furniture and home furnishing items that bring us closer to nature.

NITORI, Japan’s largest furniture and home furnishing chain, has just “landed” in the Philippines. It has chosen the huge Japan-themed Mitsukoshi Mall in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) as the venue for its first-ever store in the country. Thankfully, this building is located just right after one gets off the bridge connecting BGC to Pasig.

Speaking through an interpreter, Nitori Holdings Co., Ltd. Executive Vice President Masanori Takeda during the store’s opening last April 18 said “We wanted to showcase the best of Japan, the best companies of Japan in Mitsukoshi.”

He said that they were among the first – if not the first – to be approached by Mitsukoshi. “And when we checked out the grounds, I really felt that if we were to give our best efforts and concentrate on all the best things we can do to showcase and share our company and our products, we’re confident that a lot of Filipinos will enjoy and will have better (lives) through our products.” Takeda is in charge of overseas business, as well. 

The store in the Philippines is the 1,002nd store globally, Takeda said during his speech. He revealed that within this year, “we will expand to five stores.”  Their target? To have 65 Nitori stores in the Philippines by Year 2032. 

Just right outside your neighborhood, close to your heart

“Everybody’s (been) waiting for the launch of the first store of Nitori here in the Philippines for a long time,” Takeda told members of the media.

He acknowledged the local staff for their best effort in preparations for the opening of the furniture giant’s first store in the country. He said the new local staff of Nitori have been “working very, very hard,” and that “I am impressed with how good and wonderful they are. They are very active in giving ideas (as to) how we can share these products to Filipinos.”

While a competitor from a Scandinavian country is admittedly number 1 in the world, as far as furniture and home furnishing are concerned, Nitori differentiates itself by being more “Japan-oriented.”

“Japanese content is very important,” Takeda said. And by content, he was not merely referring to products, but as well, “customer service and the environment. We are taking a step-by-step (approach) to elevate our shopping mall experience.” Takeda further said, “Our vision is to create a Nitori just right outside your neighborhood. So, you can have a lot more people who can have easy access to our products. We want Nitori to be close to your heart and your neighborhood.” 

4,500 products chosen for the Philipines

“In Japan, we usually have 14,000 products in the store. We chose 4,500 items – the best products fit for the Philippines,” Takeda revealed.

What does Takeda highly recommend? They have a “cooling effect series” and one of these is a “sleep cooling effect pillow” that one could buy from the bed accessories section.

From fitted sheets (starts at P1,190) to mattress toppers (starts at P799), pillows to pet beds (starts at P249)—you name it, they have it in the N-COOL series.

Furniture items for your bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom are available in stores and online.

Adorable decorative items for soft plushes and play mats for the little ones can be found there, too, as with printed dinnerware and potted plants.

During the press conference, Takeda said that for them to achieve affordability, convenience, and quality, the key to making these possible is that they manufacture their products through their own factories, “without coursing it through another party or company."

"Currently, 95% of our products are all authentic, original Nitori products, which makes (them) available at cheaper, affordable prices," he added. 

He further said that they have 800 product development workers who are working on their products, in Japan, China, and elsewhere, asking questions such as “What products will help our customer? What will make their lives easier?”