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It’s been an hour since the 07.00 grand opening of the newest Tsutaya Books in Tokyo, but the staff still far outnumber shoppers. Inside the shop’s three gleaming glass-and-white-stone buildings, the few customers around flip through the piles of magazines, stroll through the movie section upstairs or sip lattes and chat at the in-store café.

If this were any other retailer, the lack of customers would be cause for handwringing and self-doubt. But for Culture Convenience Club (ccc), which operates Tsutaya, Japan’s largest video, book and music…

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