底下的沒說Mitsukoshi Ltd. /三越之海外發展史（「Since 1673」等是我加的）。
Competing kimono patterns set to join forces
During the third decade of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Tokyo stores selling fabrics used to make kimono were virtually at war. The venerable Mitsui Gofukuten (now Mitsukoshi Ltd. /三越 Since 1673 ) opened a dye factory in Kyoto Prefecture to produce a classic pattern called genroku moyo.
Competing against Mitsui was the new Iseya Tanji Gofukuten (now Isetan Co. 伊勢丹), which was promoting its goshuden moyo pattern, inspired by designs from the Heian Period (794-1185).
Iseya persuaded geisha from Tokyo's Yanagibashi district to wear kimono made of goshuden moyo for their grand performances, and promoted the pattern at the annual fireworks festival in Tokyo's Ryogoku district.
A passage from Isetan's 100-year corporate history book reads: "Thanks to the success of the goshuden moyo, Isetan began to attract public attention and gained recognition as a quality kimono merchant, thus challenging the great Mitsui Gofukuten."
Now in their third century of competition, Mitsukoshi and Isetan have started negotiations on forming a capital alliance with an eye to integrating their managements. Such a merger would create the nation's largest department store group, combining Mitsukoshi's brand name and upmarket clientele with Isetan's flair for merchandising and earning power.
Mitsukoshi was Japan's first department store. About 100 years ago, it ran its "department store declaration" in the major newspapers to proclaim the fact.
A Mitsukoshi advertising poster showed a geisha in genroku-moyo kimono and lists merchandise available, including "European and American fashion apparel." The apparel are now Isetan's specialty today. Nothing is permanent in this world.
Sales declines are forcing massive reorganization in the department store industry. In recent years, Sogo Co. and Seibu Department Stores Ltd. merged; Daimaru Inc. and Matsuzakaya Holdings Co. have announced they will merge in September; and Hankyu Department Stores Inc. and Hanshin Department Store Ltd. will do the same in October.
So the old adage rings true: "Yesterday's enemy is today's friend." The department store map is being redrawn.
Like a garden vibrant with all kinds of bright flowers, the department store industry used to be a lively place where operators competed to set trends and introduce the latest fashions to consumers. Can these two venerable companies merge to improve the business situation?
--The Asahi Shimbun, July 26(IHT/Asahi: July 27,2007)