Major retailer Aeon Co will launch on a trial basis a small discount food store in Tokyo's Nerima Ward as early as late this month, the company said Wednesday.
Aeon intends to use the store to analyze the needs of consumers in order to study low-cost store management, it said.
Discount food stores are increasingly popular in Japan at a time when household income increases little while product prices keep rising.
Price competition is expected to intensify among retailers, given that industry leader Seven & i Holdings Co entered into the discount store business in late August.
Aeon operates large-scale general merchandise discount stores known as Aeon Supercenters in Japan's northeastern region of Tohoku. It also runs Megamart large-scale suburban discount stores that mainly sell clothes and household items.
Aeon will open the new urban test store, which will be far smaller than existing discount stores, in a vacant furnished outlet, company sources said.
The company intends to run the store with a small staff made up mostly of part-time workers.
The store will handle fresh and processed food. Unlike Aeon's Jusco supermarkets, it will also have on its shelves low-priced products of small- and medium-sized companies while waiting to sell Aeon's Topvalu brand items for the time being.© JCN