Japan's 100-yen chains shrug off Amazon as shoppers pour in
Nikkei -- Jul 15
Japan's 100-yen shops are stepping up store openings as they continue to gain ground among thrifty consumers, with supermarkets and drugstores seeking them out as tenants to draw customers, shifting the dynamic in the nation's retail landscape.

The top four players, which offer a wide range of goods from clothing and food to toiletries and stationery that sell for 100 yen (93 cents), are on track to surpass their convenience store rivals in terms of net store openings this fiscal year.

Daiso Sangyo, the leading 100-yen shop operator in terms of sales, plans to open 170 locations during the current fiscal year. Runner-up Seria will open 150 outlets, while Can Do and Watts will add 80 and 115 stores respectively.

The 515 shops, combined with planned store closings, produce a net 310 openings, which would exceed the 276 net openings for the three largest convenience store chains. The previous fiscal year had a record 537 new 100-yen shops open, but the net sum amounted to 294.

The four 100-yen shop chains, which operate 7,128 outlets in total, still pale in scale in comparison to the country's top three convenience stores, Seven-Eleven Japan, FamilyMart and Lawson, which oversee 51,965 stores combined. But the convenience stores are cutting back on openings in the face of labor shortages.

Partnerships with supermarkets are fueling the 100-yen shops' expansion. Inageya, a midtier supermarket chain, drew Daiso to set up shop on the second floor of a supermarket that opened last month in Kawasaki, a city in the greater Tokyo area.

"By having a 100-yen shop sell daily necessities, we were able to expand the shopping area for deli and fresh food," said an Inageya spokesperson. This is a classic example of a supermarket giving up on selling everyday goods and turning to a 100-yen shop to fill that need for customers on its premises.

Other retailers have joined the bandwagon. Drugstore chain Tsuruha Drug installed 100-yen stores in about 20 of its 2,000 outlets while Shimachu, a furniture and hardware seller, started adding the shops in 2017 and now has 18 in its stores. The 100-yen shops have lured a different type of customer, a Shimachu spokesperson said.

News source: Nikkei
Jan 16
Japan's winter resorts are on a slippery financial slope as rising COVID-19 infections deter skiers and snowboarders. (Nikkei)
Jan 16
Japanese electronic parts manufacturers are making big investments to scale up output of components for electrified vehicles, seeking to establish a place in the coalescing supply chains for the rapidly growing field. (Nikkei)
Jan 16
The operator of a number of izakaya pub chains in Japan says it is closing down about 20 percent of its outlets in Tokyo. It hopes to mitigate the impact of shorter business hours due to the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Jan 16
The Japanese government declared a second state of emergency following a surge in coronavirus cases in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures on Jan 7. (Japan Today)
Jan 16
Rising coronavirus cases are leading Central Japan Railway to take the unprecedented step of requiring thousands of employees to go on paid leave as passenger numbers drop sharply. (NHK)
Jan 15
Toyota will pay $180 million to settle U.S. government allegations that it failed to report and fix pollution control defects in its vehicles for a decade. (Japan Todayj)
Jan 15
Japan’s wholesale prices fell 2.0% in December from a year earlier on sliding fuel costs, data showed on Thursday, a sign that the hit to demand from the coronavirus pandemic is weighing on the world’s third-largest economy. (Reuters)
Jan 15
Fast Retailing Co.’s lineup of functional and casual attire continued to lure value-conscious shoppers whose preferences are changing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to push the Uniqlo operator’s first-quarter earnings close to an all-time high. (Japan Times)
Jan 14
Tokyo's benchmark stock index continued its rise on Thursday, buoyed by better-than-expected figures for machinery orders across Japan. The gains propelled the Nikkei Average to a fresh 30-year high. (NHK)
Jan 14
Following moves by its rivals, KDDI Corp. said Wednesday it will roll out new cut-price smartphone plans, further intensifying competition among mobile phone carriers under intense pressure from the government. (Japan Times)
Jan 14
Panasonic aims to make cobalt-free batteries available for Tesla's electric vehicles in two to three years, as the Japanese electronics manufacturer tries to keep pace with the U.S. automaker's ambitious mission to bring EVs into the mainstream quickly. (Nikkei)
Jan 14
Japan’s currency in circulation and bank deposits rose at a record pace in December, data showed on Wednesday, as a resurgence in coronavirus infections prompted companies and households to continue hoarding cash rather than spending it. (Reuters)
Jan 14
Elon Musk’s tweets have been known to drive big stock moves in everything from his own giant automaker Tesla Inc. to a tiny medical device firm that shared the name of his preferred messaging app. (Bloomberg)
Jan 13
Tokyo's benchmark stock index continues to be on a tear, hitting a 30 year-record high again on Wednesday. Semiconductor-related shares continued to climb as investors bet they'll be well-placed to weather the pandemic. (NHK)
Jan 13
A former employee of SoftBank Corp was arrested Tuesday for illegally taking information from the major Japanese wireless carrier on its ultrafast 5G technology before moving to a smaller rival company, police said. (Japan Today)
Jan 13
Amid high electricity demand due to unseasonably cold weather and tight liquefied natural gas supply, Japan is scrambling to prevent a national blackout by calling on power companies to generate more and the public to use less. (Nikkei)
Jan 13
A former SoftBank Corp. employee has been arrested on suspicion of illegally disclosing 5G trade secrets to his new employer, Rakuten Mobile Inc., as it was preparing to launch its own mobile network. (Japan Times)
Jan 11
Japan is considering extending a state of emergency from the Tokyo metropolitan area to other regions as novel coronavirus cases increase but that could raise the risk of a double-dip recession for the world's third-largest economy. (Japan Today)
Jan 11
Japan’s imports of spaghetti, which is easy to cook, hit a record high in 2020, apparently due to people refraining from going out amid the novel coronavirus crisis. (Japan Times)
Jan 08
Over 80,000 people have been dismissed or seen their employment contracts terminated rather than renewed in Japan for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic since it began, the labor ministry said Thursday. (Japan Times)