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No. 366, March 2000

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American Companies in Japan


Deciding to cut its loses sooner rather than later, FOOT LOCKER INC., the world's top retailer of athletic shoes, is pulling out of the Japanese market. Its wholly owned subsidiary was formed in June 1997. That fall, the first Foot Locker store was opened in Funabashi, Chiba prefecture. Four other outlets subsequently were established in the metropolitan Tokyo and Osaka areas. All but the store in the Shibuya section of Tokyo already have been closed. That shop was to be shuttered at the end of February, with the liquidation of Foot Locker's subsidiary following shortly thereafter.

The first TOYS "R" US, INC. store has opened in close-in Tokyo. Located in the big Sunshine City shopping center/office complex in the Ikekuburo area of the city, the store has a floor space of 31,700 square feet. That rivals the size of the shopping center's large department store. After selecting suburban locations for its first 90 or so stores, Toys "R" Us plans to build more outlets in Tokyo proper as it expands its Japanese chain to 100 stores.

Preparations for the rollout of Mail Boxes Etc. stores, which provide a range of business services in addition to mail boxes and package delivery, finally are underway. A unit of convenience store operator FAMILYMART CO., LTD., which San Diego, California-based MAIL BOXES ETC. named as its master licensee in the summer of 1998, has begun recruiting franchise owners in 14 prefectures. They, in turn, will sign up individual store operators. Two experimental Mail Boxes Etc. stores have opened in Tokyo.

An exchange rate of ¥109=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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