TOKYO: Shopping for Valentine’s Day gift items is gathering momentum in Japan as major department stores put emphasis on online sales of chocolate products to prevent crowding amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sogo & Seibu Co., a unit of Seven & i Holdings Co., reinforced its lineup of popular domestic brand chocolates for online sales by about 20 percent from the previous year.
These are attracting steady demand, particularly high-priced products selling for 3,000 yen or higher, according to a Sogo & Seibu official. “Sales are gaining momentum and are expected to grow further,” the official said.
Matsuya Co.’s outlet in Tokyo’s Ginza district puts more focus on online chocolate sales this year, allowing customers to purchase online some 70 percent of the products sold at a fair at the store.
With people spending more time at home amid the pandemic, Matsuya is offering exclusively online a kit for making chocolates from raw cacao beans.
Takashimaya Co.’s Shinjuku store is installing a chocolate vending machine between Wednesday and Feb. 14 to sell six popular items from confectioner Cacao Sampaka, such as palm-sized chocolate tart and bear-shaped chocolate.
Online chocolate sales for Valentine’s Day have got off to a solid start as department stores are working to offset a decline in customer traffic following a resurgence in coronavirus cases.