Japan’s famed 100-yen shops fall victim to cost-of-living squeeze

Prices at discount stores double or more as cost pressures become critical issue ahead of upper house elections next month

theguardian.com -- Jun 24
There can’t be a household in Japan that doesn’t own a few items from a 100-yen shop – anything from chopsticks and teacups to air freshener and bin bags.

But the wildly popular discount stores – whose roots lie in the country’s long battle with deflation – are having to compromise on their USP, as soaring raw material costs, the war in Ukraine and a weak yen force companies to raise prices.

With rising prices now affecting staples such as instant ramen and sushi, the cost of living crisis is emerging as most important issue in upper house elections due next month.

In addition to rising raw material prices, the yen this week fell to a 24-year against the US dollar, driving the cost of the 90% of items the chain imports even higher. In response, the store has been forced to sell selected items for Y200 or more. ...continue reading

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