Japan

こんにちは (Hello!)
さようなら (Bye!)
Land area
377,930 km2
Population
127.1 million
Currency
Japanese yen [JPY]

Japan, with its over 6,800 islands, lies just off the eastern coast of Asia. The landscape is primarily mountainous, including some very steep slopes, so only about one quarter of the land area can be used for agriculture or housing development. As a result, the population is concentrated on the four main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. With about 130 million people, Japan is the tenth most populous country on earth. In terms of economy, the country is also one of the world’s major industrialised nations; despite a recessive trend that has been observed over the past several years, Japan still has one of the largest economies of the world. With around one million businesses in total, the Japanese retail segment is highly fragmented. Top corporate players are responding to the intense competition with sophisticated private label strategies. Convenience stores are the only retail format showing solid growth, while sales in the more traditional formats of department stores and superstores are showing only moderate growth or are even stagnating.

On the pulse of the market

In an effort to further increase sales, METRO Cash & Carry Japan has developed what is known as the multi-specialist approach. This approach focuses on five core target groups. The traditional Japanese pubs, “Izakaya”, specialise in freshly prepared Japanese food and beverages. Restaurants featuring Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cuisine are grouped under the category of “Asian”. “Teishoku” includes canteens and restaurants with a fixed daily menu. Western-influenced restaurants, bars and cafés fall under the category of “European”. And the “Food Generalists” are independent retailers such as food retailers, supermarkets and convenience stores. The needs of these five groups vary considerably and serve as fertile soil for targeted offers. This is where the multi-stage, multi-specialist approach comes in: first, METRO Cash & Carry carried out a detailed analysis of each of the five target groups in order to identify the customers with the greatest sales potential, such as Italian and French restaurants in the “European” segment. The wholesaler’s category managers then determined the major product categories. In the case of French and Italian restaurants, for example, such categories included herbs, wine and fresh fish. They simultaneously defined the strategy that would bring about short-term as well as long-term growth. The next step involved developing prices, discounts, sales channels and the marketing message. This focus on the customer has paid off: since the introduction of the approach in January 2013, sales among the core target groups of “Izakaya”, “Asian”, “Teishoku” and “European” have increased by 11 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.

Travel tips

Restaurant tip

Ichiyu

General Bld. B1, 1-9-6
Nihonbashi Horidomecho, Chuou-ku
Tokio 103-0012

Restaurant tip

Zen

Sanshin Kinshicho building 2F, 3-3-8
Koutoubashi, Sumida-ku
Tokio 130-0022

Google Maps

r.gnavi.co.jp

Hotel tip

Kinugawa Plaza Hotel

Kinugawa Onsen Taki 530
Nikko
321-2526 Tochigi

Google Maps

kinugawa.co.jp

North of Tokyo, nestled amid beautiful mountain scenery, this hotel spoils guests with its hot springs and an unparalleled view of the Kinugawa river.

North of Tokyo, nestled amid beautiful mountain scenery, this hotel spoils guests with its hot springs and an unparalleled view of the Kinugawa river.

Hotel tip

Rise Resort

2830 Shirahamachō Shirahama
Minamibōsō-shi 295-0102

Google Maps

Etiquette

If you don’t want your Japanese host to pay while in a restaurant, you must let the waiter know – otherwise, the cheque will automatically go to the local. He or she would never handle the cheque in public, as it is considered poor manners to focus on money.

Facts & figures

METRO Cash & Carry Japan

Market entry
2002
Head Office
Tokyo
Number of wholesale stores
9
Number of employees
1,080