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Sogo Co., Ltd. (株式会社そごう, Kabushiki Kaisha Sogō) is a department store chain that operates an extensive network of branches in Japan. It once owned stores in locations as diverse as Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Beijing in mainland China, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, Taipei in Taiwan, Jakarta & Surabaya in Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Singapore, Bangkok in Thailand, London in United Kingdom, but most of these international branches are now closed or operated by independent franchises.

History

Sogo Hachioji Department Store, Hachiōji, Tokyo

Sogo was founded in 1830 in Osaka by Ihei Sogo as a retailer of used kimono.

In July 2000, the company faced financial troubles caused by the reckless real estate investment policy of the former chairman, Hiroo Mizushima, and the collapse of Japanese real estate prices since the mid-1980s. The group collapsed under a debt mountain of US$17 billion, owed principally to Industrial Bank of Japan.[1] Sogo applied to Osaka District Court under the Civil Rehabilitation Law on July 12, 2000. It has had to divest itself of unprofitable business lines, as well as valuable assets such as several stores in Japan (e.g., Kokura and Kurosaki) and some overseas stores, including ones in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Taipei.

Other overseas Sogo stores survived under independent franchises, through which the Japanese company has also managed to raise capital.

In Japan, Sogo is a subsidiary of Millennium Retailing (now renamed as Sogo & Seibu).

Locations

Japan

As for 2018, Sogo Department Store in Japan were located in Yokohama, Chiba, Kobe, Hiroshima, Omiya, Kawaguchi, Seishin and Tokushima.

China

Sogo Department stores in Mainland China are operated by Taiwan-based Pacific Sogo with an additional store in Beijing, three in Shanghai, two in Chengdu, two in Chongqing and one in Dalian, as of August 2007.[2]

Beijing

Sogo also has two main stores in Beijing. The store located in Beijing's southern district is one of the largest and most prestigious department stores in the city.

Shanghai

In 2004, Jiuguang Department Store in Shanghai was opened as a joint venture between Lifestyle International Holdings of Hong Kong, the owner of Sogo Hong Kong and the state-owned Joinbuy Group of Shanghai. The department store is located in the fashionable Jing'an District adjacent to the Jing'an Temple, on West Nanjing Road. The store operation is a clone of the Sogo in Hong Kong including the high-end supermarket Freshmart and Beaute @ Jiuguang (instead of Beaute @ Sogo).

The store also brought in some very exclusive designers, a lot of which had their first counter in Mainland China such as Thomas Pink, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood.

Hong Kong

Sogo's store in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

The Causeway Bay store on Hong Kong Island was opened in 1985, then British Hong Kong. The store itself was colloquially referred as "Jumbo Sogo" after its subsequent expansion.

Following Sogo Group's collapse after the Asian financial crisis, the business of Sogo Hong Kong, including the 40,500-square-meter retail property located in Causeway Bay, was sold for US$453.6 million to two local billionaires, Thomas Lau of Chinese Estates and Henry Cheng of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises when the Japanese Sogo went bankrupt.[3] They took Sogo public by injecting this asset into Lifestyle International in 2004.

Sogo Hong Kong Co. Ltd, the Sogo franchisee, now operates one additional store in Tsim Sha Tsui, which opened on September 30, 2005, marking the 25th anniversary of Sogo in Hong Kong. The Causeway Bay store has had an extension built, which opened on November 22, 1993, and carries items in all product categories within a 15-story building. It has opened the Sogo Club, Sogo Book club, and a new annex building named Beauté by Sogo. The Tsim Sha Tsui branch focuses on designer fashions.

Lifestyle International Holdings Limited, the holding company of SOGO, was listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited on 15 April 2004.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, Sogo is operated by PT. Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk. All stores are located in high-end shopping malls in Indonesia, listed below.

Jakarta Tangerang Surabaya Bali Borneo Medan Bandung
Plaza Senayan Mall @ Alam Sutera Galaxy Mall 2 Discovery Shopping Mall Big Mall Samarinda Sun Plaza Paris van Java
Pondok Indah Mall 2 Supermal Karawaci Tunjungan Plaza 4 Bali Collection Pentacity Balikpapan
Mal Kelapa Gading 3 Pakuwon Mall
Emporium Pluit Mall
Central Park
Kota Kasablanka
Lippo Mall Puri

The Foodhall, previously known as Sogo Supermarket, are featured in most Sogo stores except in Bali Collection and Discovery Shopping Mall Bali, Central Park, Kota Kasablanka and Emporium Pluit Mall in Jakarta, Big Mall in Samarinda, Tunjungan Plaza, Galaxy Mall and Pakuwon Mall in Surabaya, Pentacity in Balikpapan, and Supermal Karawaci in Tangerang. The Sogo Supermarket brand, introduced in Plaza Indonesia since its opening in 1990, has been phased out progressively with the introduction of the Sogo Foodhall as a modern supermarket concept. The first new concept store opened in 2005 in conjunction with the opening of its Pondok Indah Mall branch, and eventually evolved into The Foodhall.

As part of Sogo, The Foodhall located in Mall @ Alam Sutera (Tangerang), Plaza Senayan, Pondok Indah Mall, Lippo Mall Puri, and Mal Kelapa Gading. The Foodhall is also located in Senayan City (as part of Debenhams department store) and Grand Indonesia (as part of Seibu department store). Other branches of The Foodhall are either standalone or operated under Daily Foodhall and The Market brand. Unlike The Foodhall for upper-class consumers, Daily Foodhall, and The Market are operated for middle-class consumers. Daily Foodhall opened as part of Sogo on Paris Van Java in 2014, despite located in its extension.[4]

Most stores also feature Planet Sports, Kidz Station and Chaterbox Cafe. Books Kinokuniya is housed in the upper level of Sogo Plaza Senayan as its Indonesian flagship store.

The first Indonesia Sogo store was opened in 1990 at Plaza Indonesia. The store was later closed in February 2006 for the renovation of Plaza Indonesia while Sogo Supermarket stayed in operation, later renamed The Food Hall Gourmet. The Sogo flagship store and management office were moved to Plaza Senayan, currently the largest store with six levels.

Malaysia

SOGO's Malaysian store, known as KL SOGO, is located along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Connected to the Bandaraya LRT station by a link bridge, it sits on the site formerly occupied by Suleiman Courts. The SOGO store commenced business on 18 January 1994.

The operator, Sogo (KL) Department Store Sdn Bhd, recently announced plans to open new stores in Midvalley Southkey Megamall in Johor Bahru[5], Central i-City shopping mall in Shah Alam[6], Paragon @ KL Northgate in Selayang, and GEM Megamall in Seberang Perai, Penang. It also plans to open a Seibu store in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) Lifestyle Quarter in Kuala Lumpur.[7]

SOGO also has been appointed to manage the operations of Mayang Mall in Kuala Terengganu, as well as becoming the mall's anchor tenant. [8]

Singapore

Once located at one of the busiest shopping centres, Raffles City, the Singapore flagship store was closed in 2000 due to the bankcrupcy of Sogo Japan. The space has since been occupied by Singapore's Robinsons.

Taiwan

In Taiwan, as a parent of Far East Group operates 8 stores. The oldest of these is located at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station in Taipei.

In 2006 Pacific Sogo found itself in the midst of a corruption scandal over gift certificates involving the family of Republic of China's former President Chen Shui-Bian. In October 2006, Wu Shu-chen (the former President's wife) was cleared by court of accepting vouchers from Pacific Sogo in return for her influence.[9]

Gallery

See also

References

External links