Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 363, December 1999

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American Companies in Japan


IGA INC., the leading independent grocery store franchiser in the world, opened a subsidiary in Japan to coordinate the operations of affiliated supermarkets in East Asia. The Chicago-headquartered company has been in Japan since 1988 when it formed a venture with ITOCHU CORP. Today, there are some 200 IGA member grocery stores, but the partners want to double that number by the end of 2001. The new subsidiary will oversee the outlets in Japan as well as the ones in South Korea, IGA's next East Asian move, and, in time, in Taiwan and the Philippines. It will adapt to local conditions store management, sales promotion, product display and other programs devised by headquarters, which provides merchandise to member outlets.

By February 2004, JUSCO CO., LTD., the country's number-three supermarket operator, expects to have 30 freestanding stores selling Tommy Hilfiger and Tommy Jeans clothing. Many of these outlets will be located in shopping centers operated by Jusco. The first one is in Jusco's Bay City shopping center in Nagoya. At 1,560 square feet, this store is slightly smaller that the typical 1,775-square-foot shop that the retailer plans to open; however, it carries roughly 1,500 items. Shirts range in price from $70 to $150, while pants go for $70 to $115; sweaters cost anywhere from $95 to $150. If Jusco meets its store-opening target, sales of Tommy Hilfiger apparel could reach $47.6 million in the year through February 2004. Menswear designed by TOMMY HILFIGER USA INC. has been available at in-store shops in Japan since 1993.

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