Walmart reportedly looking to sell Seiyu supermarket chain


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Guess Walmart realized that they couldn't squeeze their workers and try to turn shops to run on skeleton crews doesn't work here in Japan.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

MaddenToday  04:17 pm JST

Guess Walmart realized that they couldn't squeeze their workers and try to turn shops to run on skeleton crews doesn't work here in Japan.

Maybe, but I suspect a bigger factor is that they were an outside company trying to compete with Japanese companies by selling very nearly the exact same products as other Japanese companies. So trying to undercut the insider competition by doing exactly the same thing as the insiders but without any insider connections.

Gradually over the years the Seiyus I visit have stopped selling anything not available in any other store, which means there's no point in going to them. Unless a store sells something unique, I always end up shopping wherever is closest to me.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

katsu78 - it does still sell British beer at good prices because of its connection with Asda (also owned by Walmart) and it's nice to go shopping in Tokyo with 90s British indie music in the background!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Good place to buy cheap imported craft beer. They usually have a couple for 250 yen or below. I like craft beer but 300 a can is my limit.

They also have very good Asda-brand fruit and nut chocolate that is very close to the Cadbury UK one and some tasty crisps (potato chips). They used to sell cinder toffee (think UK Crunchie bar) but it has disappeared.

The other notable thing is that they have instore radio that is very heavy on the 1980s UK indie charts. I can be in there and then all of a sudden its "Its Just a City" by Voice of the Beehive or "Love on a Poor Boys Wages" by XTC or "Streets of Your Town" by the Go-Betweens. Its like being in a cool clothes shop or listening to a retro show on Radio 6 in the UK.

All of the above puts a smile on my face, so I hope it can continue.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

kohakuebisu - my 11 year old son looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him up when I started singing along with a James song!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Seiyu is well known for cheap priced steaks that are large in size and not small portions, now it will be hiked up and cut down in size.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hopefully Amazon buys them and makes the prices even cheaper..! perhaps?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Walmart prices in Japan won't work. Japanese are too used to paying extortedly high prices for items "just because."

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This is bade news. Because Walmart also owns ASDA, they have some great items for cheap. As others have said, craft beer, cranberry juice, and a good selection of nice European chocolates for lower prices than the so-so Japanese stuff. Seiyu is one of the best supermarkets for cost performance, especially on imported items.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Agree on the decent beer and chocolate at pretty good prices

Yeah,I agree it is weird when you are shopping and The Smiths or Ned's Atomic Dustbin comes on!

Weird in a good good way!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Amazon closing in on Walmart

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Great story cucashopboy! That's what dads are supposed to be like.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The new owner will pipe in the wrong '80s music, like Billy Idol, Adam Ant, or Lionel Richie ('Say you, say me, say it together...')

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sam Whitt

Another “all Japanese” generalization? Well I and nobody I know pay higher prices just because.

Where do you get your priceless info?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Of course they pay higher prices just because. It's usually cheaper to order an item from the US, which was made in China and shipped for sale in the US, and pay for the shipping all the way back to Asia than to just buy it in Japan.

Go to the mall. They are filed with local, no-name clothing brands who's clothing are all made in China, Bangladesh, Thailand, etc - but they want ¥8,000 - ¥15,000 (or higher) for a shirt, pants, sweater.

I'm not talking about wagyu beef which one can atleast argue over why it's more of a luxury. Not talking about high end luxury stores, though even those are all priced higher here than in the US.

A lot of this stuff is simply more expensive for absolutely no reason. Even if it's 100% made in Japan, it will then be equally expensive regardless of luxury or scarcity. Hence, just because.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

This is a proactive move. The company realizes that once those new tariffs on Chinese goods kick in in the US, Walmart stores won't have anything to sell.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sam Whitte

I see your point and I get it. I’m calling u out on ur always lumping all Japanese together.

And prices like 7-15 for a sweater...I think thats more 1990s or middle of nowhere Japan. If u live in a large city like I do, I find things are competively priced.

It was muvh more expensive to get around and get quality food in the States, England, and Australia. MUCH more expensive.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sam Whitte wrote: A lot of this stuff is simply more expensive for absolutely no reason. Even if it's 100% made in Japan, it will then be equally expensive regardless of luxury or scarcity. Hence, just because.

This exactly. Even more annoying is when Japanese brands are cheaper overseas than in Japan itself. For example, watches, power tools, equipment, etc. My neighbors were very impressed by my large collection of Hitachi tools that I brought with me from the US, especially when they heard what low prices I paid for them. The same goes for Seiko watches--often cheaper to order from Amazon US.

Imported food into Japan are understandably expensive. Unfortunately, like Sam Whitte said, the competing Japanese brands match these jacked-up prices (even though Japanese brands don't incur tariffs or shipping or so many distributors) just because they can. Over the years, Costco Japan has gradually been increasing its prices as well.

For me, with the exception of a few select items (e.g., cheap chocolates as others mentioned), Seiyu simply does not have the low prices or can't-be-found-elsewhere items to be attractive. If I have to buy from the company store no matter where I go, it might as well be the one that's closest.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I thought Japan was expensive when I came back here.

But it’s mostly within context now. Single fruit and veggie items are costly here!

But I can live affordable in the nations second city smack downtown if not in a new new building and so can others. I can rent property for business, it’s not too much.

I can eat healthy and fresh for what I feel is expensive but pretty much 1st world pricing. It is better than many western nations who charge way more for fresh and healthy. Clothes, I can buy expensive or cheap.

Vehicles can be bought at a good price new or a very good price used.

If you don’t wanna overpay then don’t.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, unlike bloggers on YouTube, I'm not going to preface every post with a disclaimer that of course I'm not speaking about every single person, etc.

I'm not talking about the 90s or rural Japan. I'm talking about right now and in Tokyo. Beams, Ships, United Arrows. They easily price a sweater for ¥20,000. It's not about going to Uniqlo for a much cheaper sweater. It's the fact that the Beams, Ships, United Arrows of Japan - they are not luxury labels only found in higher end boutiques or malls. They are all over the place. Nobody shopping there questions "why is this cotton sweater ¥20,000?" They just accept that's the price, just because that's the price.

As for getting around in the States, let's take NYC since it's a big city. The subway is $2.75 one way. While it's not as on time as Tokyo, not as clean, way more annoying people riding it - talking price here.

Food comes down to what you see as quality vs sub par. Dollar Pizza in NYC. Never getting that in Tokyo for 100yen.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Vehicles can be bought at a good price new or a very good price used.

Yes, but then throw in yearly taxes, inspections, and highway fees. Those fees will eventually trump the price of a used car. I have several foreign friends who decided to sell their cheap used cars because the accumulated Shaken would end up costing more than the car itself.

If you don’t wanna overpay then don’t.

Sort by Groceries Index, and you will see that Japan is the 5th most expensive country in the world for groceries behind Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and South Korea.

You're right, though, rent can be cheap.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Sam, do you have any epic takes about the idea of chowing a million yen carton of grapes at the same time as a soggy 100 yen pizza-man?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@TorafusuTorasan Not sure I would mix those distinctly different foods.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like that the expat wages are to low :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is it possible to protest/send a petition to Walmart? gaijin companies always neglect Japan once they get to over confident then sayonara to China..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Same deal happened when Vodafone Japan existed and left, now Softbank took advantage of it after their merger..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Burger King and Taco Bell also left as they neglected the market, now they come back in worse shape

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sam Whitte

My Kobeya bakery sells dollar slice pizzas. In Manhattan thats a tough find.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Have never shopped at Walmart/Seiyu as there are none anywhere near where I live, so won’t affect me either way. But for what it’s worth, Walmart is denying that they have any plans to sell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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