Distribution Networks in Japan
Types of Outlet
- Department stores
Clothing, Cosmetics, Jewelry, Food
Mitsukoshi, Isetan, Marui 0101 in Tokyo
Takashimaya, Daimaru in Osaka
Sogo in Kanagawa.
- Supermarkets and hypermarkets
Food supermarkets and specialized department stores
Aeon, Itoyokado, Daiei, Uny, Izumi, Life corporation, Izumiya, Meada (Rakuichi)
- Convenience stores
General food, drink, everyday products
Seven Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart, Circle K Sunkusu, Daily Yamazaki, Mini Stop, am/pm, Seicomart, Poplar
- Discount stores
Clothing (directly connected to well-known foreign brand names) miscellaneous goods.
DonQuijote, Mr Max, Direx (Thanks Japan), Trial company, Takeya, Super Center Plant
- Home centers
Gardening, decoration and other items for decorating and fitting out the home
Cainz, Kohnan Shji, Nafco, Homac, Keiyo D2, Komeri, Kahma, Shimachu, Daiki, Tokyu Hands
80% food products and 20% convenience goods and clothing.
Coop Kobe, Coop Sapporo, Coop Kanagawa, Saitama Coop, Miyagi Seikyo, Chiba Coop, JCCU, Coop Shizuoka
- Drug Stores
Personal hygiene products, Cosmetics, Beauty products, Detergents, Sweets and Drinks.
Matsumoto Kiyoshi, CFS Corporation, Sun Drug, Turuha, Sugi Pharmacy, Create SDS, Segami Medics, Kokumin
- Specialized stores
Specialized by product or by type of customer targeted: Clothing including Kimonos, Gardening, Alcohol...
Clothing: Aoyama Syouji, Aoki International, Haruyama Shoji
Women and children's clothing: Shimamura, Five Foxes, Akachan
Casual clothing: Fast retailing (Uniqlo), Right On, Mac House
Shoes: Chiyoda, Nustep
Alcohol : Yamaya (in Japanese) Kakuyasu
Information technology: Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, Kojima
100Yen shops: All sorts of products, sold for the one price of 100 JPY.
Daiso Sangyo, Cando, Seria, Ninety-nine plus, Oh three
Evolution of the Retail Sector
- Growth and Regulation
The Japanese distribution system is going through a crisis linked to three types of factor:
1. Protection standards and recourse to a system of licenses and permits impose heavy restrictions on the free development of stores. In particular, the setting up of hypermarkets is controlled by the Large-Scale Retail Store Location Law of 2000 and regulated by local authorities on the basis of environmental considerations.
2. The deflationist trend of the macroeconomic situation has eroded the margins of middle-men.
3. Information technology allows producers to be informed rapidly of fashion effects and the evolution of consumer tastes. To react quickly to changes in consumer trends, producers tend to develop internet sales platforms.
To learn about current trends in the Japanese retail trade, consult the Einnews.com website.
- Market Shares
Specialized stores represent almost all types of the outlets (88%), the majority of the sales (57%) and the employees in the sector (65%).
Supermarkets are in second position with a market share of sales of 30% although they only represent 9% of stores. Nevertheless, sales made by supermarkets have shown a negative rate of growth over the last few years.
The well-known foreign names are present on the Japanese market: Tesco, Metro, Toys’R’us, etc. But the Japanese do not easily accept foreign sales techniques. Carrefour paid for this and decided to withdraw from the Japanese market after having set up 8 stores.
Unlike supermarkets, small stores are doing well. The number of convenience stores, especially, is increasing, with a constantly growing volume of sales.
For further statistical information about the sector, consult the METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) website.
- Organizations in the Retail Sector
Japan Retailers Association
Japan Department store Association
Japan Council of Shopping Centers
Japan Federation of Service and Distributive workers unions
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