By Craig Patterson
"Authentic Japanese variety store" concept ‘Oomomo’ plans to expand its operations into various markets in Western Canada, after opening at West Edmonton Mall in the summer of 2017. More locations in Alberta are planned, and a Manitoba and Saskatchewan expansion is expected to follow.
While such Japanese-inspired variety stores are available in larger markets such as Vancouver and Toronto, Oomomo was the first of its kind for Alberta when it unveiled its 6,675 square foot store near the mall’s busy Entrance 48. The company refers to itself as being the equivalent of a ‘100-Yen’ store that one might find in Japan.
The bright and friendly West Edmonton Mall store sells a wide range of products such as ceramics, beauty products, stationery, small electronics, cleaning supplies, kitchenware, organizers, gift wrapping and even snacks. The majority of products are imported from Japan and are of a high quality, according to company representative Diana Cheung.
More than 90% of all products carried at Oomomo are made in Japan, which further speaks to the store’s quality. Ms. Cheung said that most items in the store are priced at about $3, noting that the store’s value proposition is exceptional.
Oomomo’s product selection is also expanding in anticipation of a broader national rollout. Later this spring, the store is expected to carry about 20,000 SKUs, up from about 8-10,000 items that the store has in stock now.
A second Edmonton location is already confirmed for Oomomo, which is expected to open towards the end of the summer at the recently overhauled Londonderry Shopping Centre on the city’s north side. That Oomomo location will span about 10,000 square feet and will have entrances both from within the mall as well as from outside. Londonderry is re-gaining its popularity after having renovated its property to become the most attractive major mall in the city, which also saw the opening of a second La Maison Simons location for the Edmonton market. Oomomo will be located next to Simons.
While its expansion plans are still in their infancy, Oomomo could eventually see between 20 and 30 locations open in Canada. The concept is already proving to be very popular in Edmonton and given Oomomo’s quality and overall value proposition, it could gain brand loyalty and take market share from traditional value-priced variety retailers. Oomomo’s product offerings are differentiated from that of the dollar store chains that operate in Canada, according to Oomomo, and therefore they don’t consider them as competitors.