January 3, 2007

Tuesday marks the beginning of new year sales and fukubukuro aka lucky bags in Japan

In USA, there is the "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving and marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Many retailers open their stores as early as 5 o'clock in the morning with nationwide discounts. Shoppers line-up for hours to get the best deal for their Christmas shoppings.

It's no different in Japan. The day after new year, 2nd of January marks the beginning of the new year sales. Retailers pack goods into a "lucky bag" or fukubukuro (福袋). According to wiki, Fukubukuro is a Japanese New Year's Day custom where merchants make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them for a substantial discount, usually 50% or more of the list price of the items contained within. Usually shoppers will try to purchase the fukubukuro from big departmental stores as they believe it's the best value for money and the value of the content inside the fukubukuro is much more than the selling price.

As reported on the news :

TOKYO — Major department stores in Japan reopened for business Tuesday and began selling lucky bags, heating up New Year sales battles with rival retailers. Mitsukoshi Ltd's flagship department store in Tokyo's Nihombashi area prepared 2,600 lucky bags for 10,500 yen each. Before the store opened at 9:50 a.m., all the bags were effectively sold out as all the numbered tickets were given to customers waiting in front of the store for the bags.

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