Retailing: A Touch of Tokyo

Even in Los Angeles—the city of gala premières for everything from Hollywood spectaculars to hamburger stands—the "grand opening'' last week of the U.S.'s first big Japanese-owned department store created quite a splash. Within 15 minutes after Seibu of Los Angeles unlocked its door, 5,000 shoppers were inside, women were fainting, policemen had to bar all entrances to slow down the rush and traffic was backed up for four blocks along Wilshire Boulevard. By day's end Seibu's clerks had been buffeted by 40,000 Angelenos, who bought $25,000 worth of merchandise ranging from...