Japan’s biggest department store group, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, is heading into the food business by teaming up with the Tokyo café and restaurant operator Transit General Office. The new company, called Mitsukoshi Isetan Transit, will run foreign restaurant brands in Japan and, if all goes to plan, its own restaurants. The majority investment of 51 per cent has come from Isetan Mitsukoshi and 49 per cent from Transit. It should be a successful marriage: Isetan Mitsukoshi has a powerful brand and premium retail properties while Transit – which has already brought a range of foreign names into Japan, including the Australian restaurant Bills and the New York chocolate brand Max Brenner – has the operational know-how and a keen eye for the next big thing.
Once again it’s time for Hollywood to dust off its designer snow fleeces and boots and head to the mountains of Utah: the 2016 edition of the Sundance Film Festival returns to the slopes of Park City today. Renowned for its laidback atmosphere and offshoot parties, Sundance has a packed schedule filled with documentaries, shorts, art installations and world cinema. Among the riches: the world premiere of US drama Indignation from director James Schamus and this year’s New Frontier exhibition, which promises Sundance’s highest ever number of virtual-reality films. The festival runs until 31 January; look out for regular reports on the Minute.
Justin Trudeau made his Davos debut on Wednesday. Canada’s new prime minister has cut something of a dash on the world stage since taking office in November but his address to the World Economic Forum was watched particularly closely both at home and overseas; many were eager to see if the charismatic young leader could turn charm and goodwill into a robust blueprint for economic growth. Speaking at an event titled “A New Chapter for Canada”, Trudeau eloquently pitched a nation "looking to invest", as a remedy for Canada’s troubled economy. Yet perhaps more important than his performance on-stage are his actions off: the prime minister also had private meetings with the chief executive officer of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and financier George Soros.
A recent overhaul of Canberra Airport saw it emerge as one of Australia’s best-designed and most functional hubs. This week the effort paid off in the form of a Singapore Airlines tie-up. The deal will see flights linking the Australian capital with Singapore and New Zealand’s capital Wellington. The airport’s first regular international service is aptly titled “Capital Express” and will introduce travellers to a rejuvenated Canberra. This city, long tagged as Australia’s culturally dry political centre, is beginning to buzz with galleries, museums and fine restaurants. The airport itself is also worth exploring, tailored to well-heeled business and political travellers with a chic Marc Newson-designed Qantas lounge. Airport authorities say the news will be of interest to Chinese carriers, under-serviced in Australia, that see potential in a well-equipped airport unrestricted by curfews.
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