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Popular bakery accused of using Japanese chain’s brand

SHANGHAI’S market watchdog is investigating a popular bakery in the city after it was accused of improperly using the brand name of a famous Japanese bakery chain.

Rikuro, the Japanese bakery, made an announcement on its website yesterday in response to media reports, saying it has never opened stores outside Japan. Rikuro has nine outlets in the Kansai area in Japan.

The Shanghai Ruikulu Investment Management Co Ltd, which operates bakery stores of the same name in China, did not comment. Business has dropped off as lines that used to limit the number of products each customer could buy disappeared.

The company was registered in June this year, according to the Pudong New Area Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.

There are about 10 “Rikuro” stores in cities including Shanghai, Nanjing in Jiangsu Province and Fuzhou, Fujian Province. These stores are known for cakes, and had become popular, frequently seeing long queues of customers.

At one store at Reel Department Store in Jing’an District, a 65-year-old retired teacher surnamed Wang said she visited the store to buy a cheesecake.

“Once I came here, there were crowds of people waiting in line to buy cakes, and I thought it should be really tasty,” she said.

Workers at the store said that the number of customers decreased in the past two weeks.

“If we are overloaded with people, we would set a daily quota of 200 to 500 for each types of cake, and each customer could buy only one,” a male staffer said. “But recently we canceled the limitation due to a sharp decrease in customers.”

Before, customers often had to wait for 45 minutes for a cake to be prepared, and spent more than half an hour in line. The shop is now facing a dwindling number of clients after media reports challenging the authenticity of the stores.

Only about 20 customers brought products in the Jing’an shop from noon to 2pm today.


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