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New shopping mall in Tomishiro proves popular

Date Posted: 2002-12-21

A new shopping mall called Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibinaa that boasts the largest selection of name-brand products in the nation is proven to be a hit among customers who flock the new outlet for their year-end shopping. Located in Toyzaki in Tomishiro, south of Naha City, the mall has attracted over 100,000 customers since it opened on Dec. 14.

Giving a head start for the new mall is the Japanese custom of giving year-end gifts called “oseibo” to business partners and generally to all people one has associated with during the past year. This gift-giving custom makes the year-end season an all-important make or break affair for most retail businesses.

Ashibinaa Mall specializes in name-brand products that are especially suitable for gift giving. It represents 75 various companies some of which are not available anywhere else in Japan. Merchants in the mall are also given tax breaks according to new laws that were enacted to spur economic activity in the prefecture. Those same laws also mean cheaper prices.

Because of that, officials at the mall are optimistic about the mall’s prospects of becoming a major tourist attraction. “We expect that we eventually can attract as many as 1.5 million tourists a year to our mall,” a store manager at the mall said.

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