May 17, 2017
Tokyo- Japanese convenience stores have driven prices of daily necessities lower, aiming to better compete with supermarkets and drugstores, which are drawing customers with discounts and other price strategies.
Industry leader Seven-Eleven Japan Co. cut prices on 61 items in mid-April, followed by Lawson Inc. on May 8 and FamilyMart Co. and Ministop Co. on Monday, which marked down about 30 items each.
As consumers are tightening their purse strings, those companies cut prices chiefly on products that are priced higher than those sold at other types of retailers.
Seven-Eleven, a unit of Seven & i Holdings Co. , led relatively large price cuts in the industrywide move, resulting in an average reduction of some five percent at the companies. In routine price revisions based on market conditions and rivals' prices, convenience stores seldom go beyond about one pct.
"There is a gap between prices offered by convenience stores and those sought by consumers," an industry source said. "We are conscious of supermarkets and drugstores (in cutting prices)."
Winning back customers is an urgent task for convenience stores. According to the Japan Franchise Association, the monthly number of customers visiting convenience stores on a same-store basis has been falling year on year since March last year. (Jiji Press)
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