JAPANESE retailer Seibu will officially open its department store in Shenzhen at the end of this month. The 48,000 sq ft store is the Japanese group's first outlet in China, and its second overseas store after Hong Kong. Masashi Ishikawa, managing director of Hong Kong Seibu Enterprise Co, said the economic controls recently imposed in China would not undermine the strong consumption market there. He said the people in Shenzhen were among the wealthiest in China, and the retail market had huge potential for growth. The $70 million Shenzhen store would be a foothold for Seibu in China, but the group had no plans to open stores in other cities for now, he said. The Shenzhen store is upmarket with most of its merchandise sourced from overseas. It is a joint venture 55 per cent owned by Hong Kong Seibu Investment Co and 45 per cent by Duty Free Commodity Enterprise Co of Shenzhen, with a co-operation period of 25 years. Seibu Investment is 80 per cent owned by Seibu Enterprise and 20 per cent by Pacific Eton. Mr Ishikawa said the venture had a licence to import merchandise, and the store would accept only Hong Kong dollars to guarantee profit. He would not disclose the target turnover for the first year of operation, although he has a figure in mind. Mr Ishikawa also said there would be a soft opening of the second Loft accessory and gift outlet in Causeway Bay at the end of this month. The new outlet will have 22,000 sq ft of space in the basement of the Park Lane Hotel.