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Britain's Tesco to sell network of 129 small supermarkets in Japan

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Never too late, right decision by Tesco.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Scurrying to leave a sinking ship. And there are so many small supermarkets in Tokyo. There are 4 within seven minutes walk of my flat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shame that, Tesco really came through in my area post-earthquake. While the local Aeon had empty shelves for weeks after, Tesco seemed to quickly change suppliers and had essentials back in a few days later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in other words focusing on China

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Britain's Tesco to sell network of 129 small supermarkets in Japan

Sell to whom?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is not a surprise. Margins are abysimally low, and distribution costs relative to other countries are quite high. The market is so fractured, I am surpised more companies do not leave. I can easily see how this would become an oligopoly in the absense of governmental regulation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I guess there are not enough Japanese folks around who want to buy baked beans.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I never heard of this Tesco until I went to the Tsuru Kame super market, not too bad, I was always wondering why I could find these British products, like corn flakes etc...at very good prices only at Tsuru Kame, now I know why, it was owned by Tesco?? I am sure they will do just fine over on the mainland with China etc...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

very sad. now where am I going to buy decent tea and custard creams...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nooooo!! Where am I gonna get all my gaijin supplies like sugarless -muesli, cheap canned tomatoes etc?! Mind you, understandable, I think I'm the only one in my neighbourhood that buys the stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They have fairly high quality tea at low prices. Kind of bad news for the British expats in Tokyo, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very bad news.

I am going to write to Tesco and ask if they will consider delivering internationally instead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably got tired of all the insults with folks mistaking them for TEPCO. :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nooooo!! Where am I gonna get all my gaijin supplies like sugarless -muesli, cheap canned tomatoes etc?!

Have you got a Yamaya near you? that's where I get my sugarless muesli & canned tomatoes, not to mention cheap Italian pasta, couscous and cut-price booze. I even found split peas there once.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cleo - spot on! You can't go wrong with Yamaya...foreign beers, Aussie wines and cheese, tim tams and cadbury's...it's all I need!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Caldi selss lots of international stuff.

Seiyu has an Asda (Walmart) connection.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tim tams: Penguin biscuits for people without taste-buds.... :)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I guess this was a mostly Kanto thing?? Damn. I was hoping they would expand. I miss Tesco - and their nice bread, hummus, decent cereal... It is rather shocking how Japan is do damn "Japan only" when it comes to large foreign shops here. How many huge companies have come and gone? Tesco, Wendy's, Carrefour (spelling),Walmart,... Ikea and Burger King are back for the second time...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

well done japan! you managed to do what us brits have been trying to do for years! :))

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yamaya is a godsend at Christmas when the need is for Scotch, sherry and fudge.

Didn't even know Tesco were in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thank heavens I came home before they sold out. Was the only way to get a reasonably priced tin of baked beans. Even then you had to search hard around the store to find them. Can't blame Tesco for this - aside from one small section, they sold the same rubbish you'd find in any other Japanese supermarket like Daimaru Peacock with only a small number of expats seeking out staples from home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yamaya's baked beans are from Italy. Not bad, but not up to Tesco's standard. I will have to buy a load of their ginger nuts and their version of Branston Pickle, which nowhere else seems to have. Then there's the shortbread, which is much higher quality than anything else I have ever found in Japan.

Tesco are smart cookies. They are very big in Thailand where Tesco Lotus must be one of the biggest supermarket chains and they have smaller Tesco Express stores there, too. Tesco bought up the Lotus chain when the Thai economy and with it the baht crashed. They bought in when the baht at an all-time low.

Perhaps they are selling here because the yen is at an all time high. But then perhaps the cost of opening and running one store in Japan is the same as the cost of opening and running ten in another Asian country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah I always wondered what their strategy for Japan was - didn't seem cheaper or better in any way than competitors, aside from a few foreign goods that few Japanese buy anyway (I bought a lot myself though). Would have thought they would try to differentiate themselves by instore bakeries or some such.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Best thing I ever did once I got to Japan was weaning myself off English food. I don't miss a thing, except fish and chips and aniseed balls...and those are something to look forward to whenever I go home.

Christmas? I'm happy with some KFC and a six-pack of Kirin lager....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good riddance to them! After that nuclear disaster, they should never show their faces here again....

....oh hang on, what did you say their name was?

...oops.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I LOVE Yamaya (located in Tsukuba Q't shopping mall) ~~ (^_^)

One of my husband's good friends is married to a beautiful British lady and he told him that they usually go to some international food market located near Hiroo station in Tokyo. Does anybody know which place is he referring to?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

National Azabu

BlueWitch: I believe that would be "National Azabu Supermarket." It is across the street from Arisugawa Park.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not being British, the only thing I knew about Tesco was that it rhymes with "al fresco" in that one lite-reggae Lily Allen tune from a few years ago. If she puts a remix for Japan, may I suggest rhyming the store with Nadeshiko to impress Japanese fans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I was kicking it down at the local corner Tesco When in walks Sawa from Japan's Nadeshiko."

I think I'm feeling the official theme song of the 2012 London Olympics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blue, I used to frequent Tsukuba Q't - we may have fallen over each other without knowing it! (I was the blonde with several baskets full of pasta, muesli, tea, cheese and canned tomatoes)

Small world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Moderator

National Azabu

Thank You very much! (^_^)

@kawachi

BlueWitch: I believe that would be "National Azabu Supermarket." It is across the street from Arisugawa Park.

Thank You for letting me know the address. (^3^) chu~

Now I can't wait to go there and buy lots of international goodies!!! YUM

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@cleo

Please! It's "tinned *tomatoes". You'll be talking about a "can of tuna" next, and then you really will have gone over to the other side.... :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Japan will remain a notoriously difficult country to make money out of, as Wal-Mart is also finding, having had a presence in Japan since 2002 through Seiyu (now a wholly-owned subsidiary).”

So true. Once again the "Japan is different" phenomena has struck. So many regulations, taxes, silly procedures, etc. makes making much more than a small profit margin in Japan near impossible. And I know many people will say that that is just fine with them, but that is ignoring the obvious. Japan cannot continue to be an unattractive place for foreign companies/foreign investment. With a shrinking population and economy and no banks loaning for new business start-ups, Japan needs to be more open if it is going to show growth in the future.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Tesco?? What's that? Never heard of it!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@cleo

Blue, I used to frequent Tsukuba Q't - we may have fallen over each other without knowing it! (I was the blonde with several baskets full of pasta, muesli, tea, cheese and canned tomatoes)

Small world.

Whaaat? my oh my~ We probably passed each other several times inside the store and didn't even realize until now. Oh Wow! I was the one (long jet black hair) hauling 3 kids around carrying a cart filled with Tostitos, Salsa, German Pickles, Red Kidney Beans, tomato sauce cans and tons of snacks. lol (^_^)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Please! It's "tinned *tomatoes". You'll be talking about a "can of tuna" next, and then you really will have gone over to the other side.... :)

Arrghhh...!

Sorry, can't talk now, I'm too busy trying to pull this treacherous forn langwidge-speaking tongue out of my head.....

Then I'm going to go and digest an Oxford English dictionary.

Slap on the wrist duly noted and appreciated. :-)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hiroo also has a big Meidiya not far from National Azabu Supermarket, but its percentage of imports is lower. I go there anyway, just to compare. Shinanoya, with branches in Setagaya and one in Kabukicho carry a lot of imports at reasonable prices. Sometimes I go halfway across town only to find that what I wanted in a certain shop was out of stock. I've taken to ordering more food online. They charge for delivery up to 5,000 (or 10,000) yen, depending on the company, but the delivery charge is roughly equivalent to a round-trip train ticket. Rakuten and some of the other ebusinesses also award bonus points.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

where am i gonna get me steak and kidney pies then?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bad timing. Grew to fast too quick, but in the near future there will be a demand for no nuke foreign food.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yet another foreign company is forced out of Japan due to lack of interest and - probably - fear of competition from a superior product. I am now visiting Hong Kong, only 3 hours from Japan. Why is it that I can get all manner of excellent foreign cuisine here in Hong Kong - superb Malaysian, Mexican, Greek, Lebanese food - and when I get back to Japan I will be faced with the same old limited, inferior, dreary choice of foreign comestibles. And all the time being preached at how 'international' Japan is. Japan you are sooo far behind the rest of Asia!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

herefornow:

You are so right. No one gives a damn about Japan any more, earthquake disaster notwithstanding. They are too busy joining in with the rest of the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ukguyjp.

Maybe because you shop/eat in the wrong areas? Central Tokyo offers some but other areas offer way more but are not as trendy.

I know a place, where I can eat German, French(multiple), Mexican, Spanish(multiple), Asian up to Swedish/Japanese fusion. Same area has a ton of overseas food shops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The markets in Japan are generally closed to foreign companies and businesses, particularly the food retail market. The patterns of shopping are also different here from the rest of the world, too. People tend to buiy just what they need every day, because they dont have space to store stuff. In the UK and USA and other countries, the weekly shop is pretty much the norm. Im not surprised Tesco are pulling out. Japanese people also probably could not cope with the choice of goods in Tesco stores. They are used to tiny little convenience stores, which they sometimes call "supermarkets."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I didn't know Tsurukame was owned by Tesco! Tsurukame reminded me of Chinese supermarkets in ChinaTown because of how they shelves things.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not so sure if that is the problem.

My wife loved to shop at Tsurukame but it felt like a japanese discount store when we entered(we never knew it was british owned due to selection). Ditto for the Yamaya stores I visited, rather poor import selection.

Now shops like Kaldi, Carnival, Kinokuniya, etc usually are crowded with japanese and often stocks are low or gone till next delivery. Try getting Roeschti, etc at times.

Had a friend visiting and we visited a few shops as some items were wanted all except one were found locally.

I can find many overseas foods locally by just shopping around and NOT looking for specialised import shops. There is one japanese chain(name escapes me right now) that stocks a LOT of overseas foods, ditto for liquor hit any of your local import shops(Kameya, etc).

Granted won't be one-stop shopping but way better than 15yrs ago when we had to hit Ikebukuro, etc to get overseas foods.

Now if japanese run food-stores that stock overseas foods are crowded and driving and overseas stores are closing it tells me something.

Ditto many online shops are thriving and the face the same problems as brick & mortar stores.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They are used to tiny little convenience stores, which they sometimes call "supermarkets."

globalfreezing, do you live in Japan? I have never heard a Japanese person call a conbini a supermarket. Even in my little town in the sticks we have 2 big supermarkets and a couple more medium-sized ones, and many more large ones in neighbouring towns. I would not say Japanese people were used to doing their major shopping in 'tiny little convenience stores'.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think a major part of the problem is that Japan is a mature market. Tesco, Walmart, Carrefour, etc., needed to come in offering something new and exciting, and didn't. Here they need to adapt to the (broadly east asian - not just Japan) tendency to shop daily and eat fresh. AND somehow do it better than the companies that have been doing it for the past 50 years. Being "foreign" isn't enough. In China, sure that might bring in the newly affluent, who want to live large.

3 ( +2 / -0 )

Tesco's in Japan is just a depressing concept anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -2 )

Well Costco is doing just fine...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sure if the posters here are interested.

But there is a new import shop that opened recently inside the Kichijoji Parco and sells quiet a few british import foods and has a fairly decent cheese selection, etc.

Been there a few times, granted much of the stuff is also sold via other shops in the area like within a 5 min walk.

The area has 2 Kaldi, 1 Miuraya, 1 Kinokuniya, 1 Carnival, etc shops so no shortage of imported foods.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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