Dept. stores adapting New Year's sales amid virus

Department stores in Japan are bracing for sales of their New Year bargain packages while taking measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

A department store in Tokyo's busy Ikebukuro district opened on Friday offering bargain packages known as "fukubukuro," or "lucky bags."

The popular lucky bags that contain food items such as sweets and meats are being offered not in its basement food section but on a different level to avoid congestion.

It will sell most of its lucky bags containing apparel for women online. It also began selling some 70 percent of the packages during the end of last year as an additional way of avoiding human traffic.

The head of the department store told NHK that he expects retail demand to be high, as many Tokyo residents are refraining from travel or going on day trips outside the city.

He expressed his readiness to cater to their needs while making full-fledged efforts to curb the spread of the virus.