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Even Japan’s Takashimaya can’t escape department stores’ woes

‘Iconic’ is quite possibly the most overused and devalued word in business marketing, the go-to term for marketers in their media releases to spruik anything they happen to be pushing at the moment. We have ‘iconic’ shopping centres, ‘iconic’ retail stores, ‘iconic’ restaurants, ‘iconic’ hotels, ‘iconic’ rock groups. But Takashimaya, a retailer of 1831 vintage and still the largest department store chain in Japan, is surely genuinely deserving of the word.Yet this icon is