No international visitors rule for Tokyo Olympics will affect Japan retail industry, says GlobalData

Japan has banned overseas spectators from attending this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to commence on 23 July 2021, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the country will not be able to meet its retail growth target of 2.9% in 2021, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Ankita Roy, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games would have been a perfect opportunity for Japan’s retail industry to bounce back to the growth phase after a slowdown in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 205 participating nations, the games provide a platform for the brands and retailers to get noticed to a larger audience. However, without international visitors, the recovery chance of the retail industry will definitely get affected.”

GlobalData’s latest Coronavirus Disease 2019 dashboard highlights that Japan has witnessed a decline in the new COVID-19 case numbers from a peak of more than 12,000 cases on 30 April 2021 to just under 2,000 cases on 2 July 2021. However, sluggish vaccine rollout in Japan remains an area of concern with only 8% of the total population getting vaccinated.

In addition, the present situation will affect the new employments that usually come along with similar events. Low hiring activities in 2021 will also influence retail spending in the country, reflecting in subdued retail sales due to financial uncertainties and the pandemic’s impact on household income.

Ms Roy concludes: “Japan’s retail industry has invested heavily in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics similar to other industries such as tourism & hospitality, as several retailers expected a sales boost. several new concepts were trialled keeping safety and hygiene in mind. However, without overseas visitors minimal returns on expenditure will be seen, which will in turn push the retail industry in Japan to further lows.”

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