Fever for the new hits shopper

For Chihoko Yamanaka, there is just one reason to be excited about the Westfield San Francisco Centre’s opening Thursday.

In a word, shopping.

She’s the kind of shopper that retailers dream about. Without revealing her age or her source of income, she chatted happily Tuesday in Union Square with a reporter and with her shopping buddy, retired San Francisco restaurateur Sadako Oku. Yamanaka had walked all the way from her Russian Hill home, wearing a bright hat and red jeans and carrying a ruffle-tiered handbag and a BCBG Max Azria shopping bag. She was ready to hit Banana Republic to make an exchange, and then move on from there.

“I’m so happy,” she said of Westfield. “It’s really exciting.” Looking at Oku, she added, “We promised to go together.”

She said she goes shopping almost daily, focusing on clothes and tableware. Like Oku, she is from Japan, and she wanted to know if the new mall will have something present in fine Japanese department stores — a café that serves really good cake.

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