RETAILING: Sincerity for Sale

Tokyo's big Mitsukoshi department store was acting out part of its heritage last week. Founded three centuries ago as a kimono shop, Mitsukoshi was aswirl in its annual kimono sale—unquestionably the largest, silkiest, costliest and most colorful event of its kind anywhere. Thousands of kimonos were spread over an acre of selling space at prices averaging $350* and ranging up to $10,700. With a small army of 300 kimono-clad saleswomen amid the racks, Mitsukoshi officials expect to sell $2.1 million worth of the traditional Japanese garments before the sale ends Sept. 19....

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