In the winter of 1946, Komatsu Store began a new tradition for Ginza—the Christmas Sale.
At the time, Christmas wasn’t as celebrated as commonly in Japan as it is today. At the busy time at the end of the year, many stores displayed signs like “Year-end Clearance Sale,” but Komatsu Store was the only one advertising a “Christmas Sale.” The word “Christmas” itself was a novelty back then, and the special services only available at that time of year became a big hit. Of particular interest to people was the special Christmas wrapping paper. Japan was suffering from a shortage of supplies. Even newspaper was hard to come by. So the wrapping paper fulfilled an emotional need on the part of our customers by responding to their sentimental desire to give a special gift on a special day, even if it was only a modest gift.
During a time when people couldn’t afford to spend much money on presents, our customers could be seen walking home carrying colorfully wrapped packages under their arms. Such a sight wouldn’t turn anyone’s head today, but back then it was groundbreaking. At a time when paper was a precious commodity, our Christmas wrapping was a big hit. Originating from an idea of company founder, Takeo Kosaka, this wrapping paper became a winter tradition at Komatsu Store.
In 1949, we also began the tradition of putting a big Christmas tree in front of the store. Pictures from that time show a magnificent natural tree, taller than the building, with vivid decorations that gave the storefront a merry appearance. Many of our customers have fond recollections of a time when one of the joys of winter was to gaze up at the tree before entering the store to shop for presents.
Afterwards, whenever we rebuilt, we gave careful thought to planning new Christmas decorations to greet our customers. However, 1966 was the last year we put a Christmas tree in front of the store. That practice has been discontinued since then because of changes in the surrounding area, and because of a realization that the tree no longer had the same significance for our customers.
Our Christmas sale started as an example of the ‘fine-tuned service’ that is possible exactly because we are a small department store. It was meaningful precisely because we performed it as a December tradition. It wasn’t just a gimmick. We didn’t just read from the ‘year-end sale’ script. We sincerely desired to share with our customers an atmosphere in which we recognized the holiday spirit and joyously passed the year-end time together.
Even if the store no longer has a decorated Christmas tree in front, we retain the same sincerity and have passed that spirit down to the present time, communicating it to customers in a different form. We feel confident that you will sense the same spirit of sincerity at the newly transformed Ginza Komatsu.