Iyotetsu Takashimaya, the main department store in Matsuyama in Ehime prefecture, Japan, has announced a new initiative to help both itself and the local retail community. From March 2022 the regional store operating company will launch a new app to sell mid-year (o-chugen) and New Year gifts (o-seibo), still big business for department stores surviving in Japan, where cultural traditions remain stronger than in the big cities. The app will allow both individual and business customers to order gifts at its five branches in the prefecture and the company hopes to add other product lines over time. To further its own interests and help attract more shoppers to the city, Iyotetsu Takashimaya will also offer an app that connects retailers to vacant stores in the city’s CBD, including offering financial advice for business set up. With an already high 10% vacancy rate in the city, the situation has worsened in the past year as businesses have failed.