The new helmsman of supermarket chain Seiyu GK, a wholly owned unit of Walmart Japan Holdings GK, says he intends to expand the network of Seiyu stores in Japan by deviating from the policy of focusing on closing down unprofitable stores. "Although the closures of our unprofitable stores has so far tended to draw attention, we would like to increase the number of our stores from now on," said Toru Noda, CEO of Seiyu and Walmart Japan, last week. The timing of new store openings and their number will be determined down the track, he suggested.
Seiyu intends to enhance its bargaining power with wholesalers to get them to cut back on merchandise prices by increasing both the number of retail outlets and the company’s visibility in Japanese society, officials said. In recent years, the large retailer has followed a policy of implementing a range of reforms on its sales floors to boost the efficiency of its marketing system. Noda said he will seek to get Seiyu stores to trump rival retailers by capitalising on their price competitiveness over rivals, which will stem from the global merchandise procurement network of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
As the CEO of Walmart Japan, the key Japanese arm of the Wal-Mart group, Noda said he will get the holding company to press ahead with the policy of new Seiyu store openings, while "acquiring other companies, depending on the situation". Seiyu will place emphasis on increasing retail outlets in the Kanto area surrounding the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Chukyo area comprising three central Japanese prefectures of Aichi, Gifu and Mie, he said. But he also expressed a desire to cash in on demand in such areas as Nagano, Sendai and Kitakyushu "if we can find opportunities to increase our stores" in those areas.
While Walmart Japan intends to intensify acquisitions of other companies, it will consider allowing regional retail companies whose brands local citizens have been familiar with for years to retain such brands, he added.
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(Source: Japan Retail News)