Old department store in Yamagata up for foreclosure

The Onuma Department Store in Yamagata City is up for foreclosure later this month, with a minimum bid set at 186,768,000 Yen (approx. US$1.8 million). Yamagata District Court will accept sealed-bids from November 24 to December 1, with bids to be opened on December 3.  The department store closed its doors in January 2020 after filing for bankruptcy.

Although the current building dates from 1956, the store’s history dates back to 1700 when Hachiemon Onuma opened a general store in Yamagata’s Nanukamachi district, making it the third-oldest department store in Japan behind Matsuzakaya (1611) and Mitsukoshi (1673). It would only become a full-fledged department store after WWII when it was set up as an incorporated company in 1950. In those days it was operating out of a 2-story shop with a floor area of 400 sqm. In 1956 a larger 4-story shop with 5,500 sqm of floor space was built. Further additions were added in 1965 and 1971.

In 1965, annual revenue reached 19.7 billion Yen, exceeding that of other larger stores in the region. However, the rapid introduction of suburban shopping malls in the 1970s saw fewer and fewer shoppers in the city center. This trend continued up until the 2000s with several large stores closing down in Yamagata City. In 1997, revenue was 165.8 billion Yen, while operating profit was just 94 million Yen. In 2000, revenue had dropped to 143.67 billion Yen and the store reported an operating loss of 219 million Yen. Revenues shrank further to 85 billion Yen by 2017.

The 9-story building has a total floor area of around 20,000 sqm (215,000 sq.ft) and sits on a 2,270 sqm block of land in the city center. An article in the Nikkei Shimbun on September 30 suggested that the building and land is likely to be snapped up by a real estate developer and redeveloped into apartments.

Annual property taxes were 14.5 million Yen (approx. US$140,000) in 2019.


1-2-30 Nanukamachi, Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture

Nippon News Network, November 6, 2020.
The Nikkei Shimbun, September 30, 2020.

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