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  • Western-Style Aromatherapy in Japan's Cosmetic Industry
  • Related Trend -- Ready-to-Eat Industry
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  • Pushkin Square is McDonald's Busiest Restaurant
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  • Increasing Popularity of Virtual Pets May Lead to Import Ban in Vietnam
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  • TOKYO, Japan -- With the growing focus on trends in aromatherapy in the west, natural brands of cosmetics from foreign manufacturers are rapidly making inroads to the Japanese cosmetics' counters. While competition in Japan is strong, there is a growing interest among consumers in foreign natural brands of cosmetics, particularly those from the USA, UK, Australia and France. The Body Shop opened its first store in Japan in 1990, introducing its line of natural cosmetics, scented bath and body products. Today there are over 100 Body Shop outlets throughout Japan. Estee Lauder's Origins brand launched in Japan in 1995. Today, there are 10 Origins shops in Japanese department stores.

    Various types of related products are being introduced in Japan to capitalize on the aromatherapy trends. For instance, Okamoto Industries Inc. is introducing a product that makes bags smell good -- a scented plastic film. The Aroma Film will be marketed to manufacturers of small bags and cases and be available in 12 fragrances, 16 colors and four thicknesses. In addition, it offers the benefit of an anti-bacterial finish that coincides with the trend for better hygiene.

    There is a particular emphasis on aromatherapy and related products, because of the increasing stress that women are facing due to greater demands from work and more complex lives. For example, the percent of women in the workforce between the ages of 25 - 29 has increased by more than 20% in the last 20 years. And women are now spending more time and money on hobbies, travel and other leisure activities, making their lives fuller but more stressful -- less time, more obligations, greater demands, etc. Natural cosmetics are viewed as safer, calming and healthier. Packaging is simpler; stores that carry these products tend to be less luxurious and have a greater appeal to a broader target group -- including this younger target audience -- women in their late 20s.

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    JAPAN -- Look at the growing trends in take-out and ready-to-eat meals. The ready-to-eat market was estimated at about US$49.6 billion in 1995 -- it doubled in the last 10 years. Women (and men) are in need of greater convenience, more time-saving alternatives to remedy their increasingly hectic lives. Restaurants have recently begun to offer delivery services in Japan to compete with deli counters and convenience stores.

    JAPAN and USA -- Audiophiles in the US, Japan and other markets have not forgotten the asymptotic quality of analog LPs. Those old-fashioned record albums that preceded the overwhelmingly successful introduction of CDs still appeal to many music lovers. Certainly, CDs dominate the music industry, but among an increasingly visible niche of audiophiles, as well as older consumers who still own albums and now a growing interest from the younger trendsetters, it appears that 'those old records' and record players are becoming "hip." Japan imported more than 6 million record albums in 1996 and produced nearly a million locally -- double local production from the previous year. And JVC introduced a line of digital/analog players with an antique look. While we are not suggesting that analog music will replace CDs anytime soon -- we suggest that there is a growing interest in this retro-style of music, whose time may not have passed.

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    TOKYO, Japan -- Toys "R" Us - Japan, Ltd. opened its first test site of a specialty shop, Babies "R" Us in Shingu, Fukuoka Prefecture The store will sell clothing, furniture, diapers, strollers and related items for children under the age of 3. This test site will occupy more than one-third of the floor space of this existing Toys "R" Us store in Japan.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    MOSCOW, Russia -- McDonald's Pushkin Square restaurant in Moscow is its busiest outlet in the world. The restaurant opened in January 1990 and has since served more than 100 million customers -- about 40,000 each day. Since it opened its doors, this restaurant has been designated as McDonald's busiest each year. Looking at foods served from this one location, it breaks down as follows:
    • 40 million orders of French Fries
    • 25 million Big Macs
    • 60 million drinks
    • 30 million desserts (pies and sundaes)

    Overall, there are 21 McDonald's restaurants throughout Russia, including four in St. Petersburg and three in Nizhniy Novgorod. As Russia's leading quick service restaurant, McDonald's employs 4,500 people there.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    PERU -- Motorola won a US$350 million contract with Telefonica del Peru to expand its digital cellular telephone network. After building a trial network in Lima that now serves almost 10,000 customers, Motorola 's Cellular Infrastructure Group (CIG) was contracted to install a large-capacity digital mobile switching platform and digital base stations in Peru's main cities over the next few years. These will replace the existing analog system. It is expected that over a million subscribers will be served by this new network in Peru. This will be Latin America's first country-wide network system CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) deployed by a wireless operator.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam's Ministry of Culture and Information may ban the import of the virtual pet, Tamagotchi, from Bandai Co. because cultural authorities fear that these "pets" are distracting to students. This fad had caught on in Japan and the USA, and several schools in both countries have banned them from the classrooms because of their "beeping" and "chirping." Tens of thousands have been imported into Vietnam already.

    The popularity of the Tamagotchi pet has been so strong that software companies in Japan and the USA have also introduced CD-ROM based dogs, cats, fish and other creative "pets" with the hope of extending this fad. Though these PC-based pets are somewhat more complicated than their original Tamagotchi cousins, and they still require daily care, the PC-based "pets" can be switched "off" while the owner tends to real-life priorities.

    Given the relatively low penetration of PCs and CD-ROM drives in Vietnamese households, these PC-based "pets" do not appear to be a threat to local authorities in the near-term.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

      [PANGAEA specializes in consumer marketing insights and integrates the full spectrum of business intelligence into thoughtful market launch strategies for its clients.]

    CAIRO, Egypt -- Attributed to Egypt's 1991 privatization policy, which effectively took off last year, direct investment in Egypt has shown steady increases in the last three years. By the end of this year, direct investment is expected to reach US$1.5 billion according to the Economy Minister Yussef Boutros Ghali. Year-end 1996, direct investment in Egypt was about US$900 million, up from US$432 million the year before.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

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    LAST MINUTE TRAVEL BARGAINS -- Special Discounted Fares

    American Airlines' Net SAAver International offers last minute travel bargains for travelers departing from the USA. You can schedule a last minute meeting or a weekend getaway to selected destinations throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Central America or South America each week and benefit from these discounted rates.

    Through this program, you can fly at discounted rates, as long as you can plan to travel on short notice. These low round-trip fares are good for travel only on the dates specified. They expire on Fridays. Check back each Monday for the week's destinations!

    From Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW) to:

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  • US$235 -- Guadalajara, Mexico (GDL)

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    Discover Puerto Rico:
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    Vacation Package includes - 2 nights accommodations; does not include airfare.
    [Vacation prices valid through January 20, 1998.]

    [Restrictions apply. Check with American Airlines for details.]

    To take advantage of these fares, you must depart on Thursday or Friday, November 6 - 7, 1997. Thursday departures return anytime the following Monday and Friday departures return anytime the following Monday/Tuesday. Call 1-800-344-6702 and ask for Net SAAver International Fares to book your flight. Or subscribe to their mailing list for more information.

    You can also read the latest news about Travel & Tourism.

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