Sogo & Seibu to sell NFT artworks in April

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Sogo and Seibu will launch an online trading platform for NFT artworks around mid-April, the first time for Japanese department stores to be involved in trading NFT assets on their own, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

The online platform will sell about 50 works, mostly photographs, to start with. It will target users aged between 20 and 40, and the artworks are priced under 100,000 yen each. It will accept payments by credit cards as well as crypto assets, according to the report.

In preparation for the platform’s launch, Sogo & Seibu, which operates the two department stores in their own names, will retain a certain amount of crypto assets necessary for commission management. It said it aims to achieve sales of several tens of billions of yen in the NFT art field.

Japanese retailers have been taking steps to tap into NFT markets recently. Hankyu Department Store started selling its NFT collection “Enjoy Wine” on major NFT marketplace Opensa in September 2022. The collection offers not only wine as an alcoholic beverage, but also related original digital art, including a collection of original characters inspired by grapes.

In January, Daimaru Kobe announced the sale of a limited edition NFT linked to a premium sake on its members-only website. The NFT holders can redeem the “Sake-wan Premium Sake” in January 2025. Its brewery in Kasai City, Hyogo Prefecture miraculously escaped destruction in a major earthquake more than 30 years ago.

In the U.S., Bloomingdale’s, a long-established department store in New York, opened a virtual store “Bloomingdale’s 150 like no other store in the metaverse” in September 2022 to coincide with the New York Fashion Week. The company said the virtual showroom is “the next stage in the retail industry” aiming to connect with younger customers amid a decline in customers in the sector.