Lawson, the 2nd largest convenience chain in Japan, has recently launched a Detective Conan store on the first floor of Metro Town in downtown Shanghai. The popularity of the anime character has boosted sales figures from June to December, five times more than that of other Lawson stores without the anime marketing.
The storefront itself attracts Chinese fans and passers-by with its display of Detective Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street home in London, getting all the details down to the red telephone booth outside. All are familiar sights from the anime film, Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street. A huge billboard has been put up outside the shop declaring: “Welcome to the mysterious world of Conan”. And upon going inside, customers are greeted by the store staff all dressed up as Detective Conan — baseball cap, cape in beige and brown, Oxford shirt, brown pants and the signature large eyeglasses. Apart from its usual stocks, the Lawson store at this location also sells Detective Conan merchandise including clocks, mugs, mirrors, notebooks, pens, T-shirts, iPhone cases and much more.
Wu Yongsheng, shop manager of the Conan store, has been working with Lawson for more than four years and asked specifically to be transferred to the Conan store, knowing that the store would take in a lot of customers. “Many of them come over and take pictures, which helps boost business. We were nervous about posing for them at first, but we have gotten used to that,” he says.
The Conan-themed store is not the first anime-themed store that Lawson put up. In June of last year, they also started an Ultraman store, and followed up with Conan five months later. Wu adds that more anime-themed convenience stores will open in China soon, as Lawson is already in negotiations with future partners. Such is the popularity of Detective Conan in China that even the country’s state-powered media broadcasted propaganda efforts criticizing Japan using scenes from the series.[ via China Daily ]