If you’ve been to a MUJI store recently, you’ve probably noticed that they have so much product on sale. This isn’t common considering just a couple of years ago, a MUJI sale was something you sprinted to. Now, I can walk in at any given time and I just know I can impulse buy without feeling guilty.
Why is this? Well, in July 2020, MUJI filed for bankruptcy. Claiming that the company had fallen victim to the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly spread across all retail stores, they followed their bankruptcy announcement with the closure of all their Bay Area retail locations. Many other companies filed for bankruptcy within the past year such as Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Need Supply Co., and Totokaelo, prompting MUJI to follow suit. They voluntarily filed a petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code – which hopefully will give them the opportunity to pivot and invest more on e-commerce. However, according to Bloomberg News, COVID-19 only played a partial role in MUJI’s bankruptcy. MUJI’s parent company, Ryohin Keikaku, reportedly stated that their business in the U.S. had been operating at a loss for the past three fiscal years, with a loss of around $10 million USD in 2019, not to mention other variables such as high rent in major cities, cheaper replicas of their product, and many other costs.
It’s hard to believe that this news wasn’t spread on a larger scale considering MUJI had made a huge impression in America and provided us the space to spend irresponsibly to fulfill our idea of the perfectly aestheticized Japanese-style home. So if you were sitting on buying some plush bedsheets, their beautiful (but outrageously expensive) furniture, a sleek but lowkey air diffuser, or just a handful of their coveted fine-tip gel pens, I’d say jump on those things quickly. There’s really no telling what, when, or where MUJI will decide to close shop next.
Photo via MUJI