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Why you won't see a 7-Eleven in Shikoku

34 Comments
By Philip Kendall

Although it’s sometimes forgotten about, Shikoku, one of the four large islands that make up mainland Japan, is as much a part of the country as Hokkaido in the north and Kyushu to the south. People eat rāmen, do karaoke and play pachinko, exactly like everywhere else. Take a drive around the island and, just like every other part of the country, you’ll find literally hundreds of convenience stores. Lawson, FamilyMart, Mini Stop, Coco Store -- they’re all here.

All, that is, except 7-Eleven.

Despite its 14,000 stores making it the dominant convenience store in Japan (with Lawson coming in second with 10,639 locations and FamilyMart’s 8,852 bringing up the rear) 7-Eleven has, according to Internet chatter, completely avoided an entire chunk of Japan. Can it really be true that, while every other convenience store is opening stores all over Shikoku, there isn’t a single 7-Eleven outlet on the island? A quick Google Maps search of Japan’s top three convenience stores reveals that – gasp- it really is true.

So, why, when there are an incredible 14,000 7-Eleven stores in Japan, comprising more than 30% of the entire world’s total, are there zero on Shikoku? A voodoo curse? A lost bet resulting in exile? The answer is at once far less glamorous, yet much more menacing, and can be summed up in a single word: “Domination”

Toshifumi Suzuki, CEO at 7-Eleven (or 7 & i Holdings, as its parent group in Japan is known), explains the company’s business strategy thus: “7-Eleven’s business plan revolves around area domination. From the outset, we look at an area and assess whether it’s viable to build a large number of stores. If so, we focus our attention on one small area.”

Focusing all of their efforts and resources on any one area at a time plays an important role in keeping costs to a minimum. Everything from distribution of stock to the reach of their advertising campaigns can be confined to one location. “On top of this,” Suzuki explains, “our food arrives faster and fresher.”

But that’s not all there is to it. What we see in the 7-Eleven business model is something akin to a small but very powerful explosion, focused entirely in one area.

“Once one store has been opened, more follow in quick succession. Word of mouth spreads, and people become more and more familiar with the sight of our stores as they run into them more and more often … Although at first, each of the stores make only a minimal profit, once people’s recognition of the brand reaches a certain level, we see a sudden and dramatic increase in both visits to the store and sales figures” Suzuki explains.

So, rather than spreading themselves thin, 7-Eleven moves in, opens a bunch of stores and takes control of an entire area, the sight of each store acting as a sort of subliminal reminder.

Now that we come to think of it, whenever we’ve come across a 7-Eleven store in the city, we usually stumble over another one in no time at all. Looking back at the map, we can see that, while its competitors can be found pretty much all over the country, 7-Eleven remains focused on fewer, key areas, each with almost double the number of stores. They really do spring up in clusters.

It’s clear that this strategy works well for the company. If we take the city of Osaka as an example, looking back at the late 1990s, the city was very much “Lawson territory”. But within just a few years of 7-Eleven’s arrival in town, an incredible 300 stores had sprung up. In the blink of an eye, 7-Eleven had become top dog, and nowadays you couldn’t walk down a street in Osaka without running into one.

So, why avoid Shikoku?

According to 7-Eleven’s information center, "there are no immediate plans to move into town, but it will happen.” And when it happens… they’ll dominate.

Source: Zasshi News via Yahoo Japan

© RocketNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


34 Comments
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It won't happen if I put an 11-Seven there first!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There are no 7-elevens in Aomori either.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There are very few 7-elevens in America and none in Oklahoma.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

bring some stores to Jersey. All I can find here are Chinese in disguise.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Actually when reading this I thought I remembered reading something in the news... yes here it is...

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/society/news/2012/09/09/kiji/K20120909004079770.html

Shikoku need not wait much longer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This article makes 7-11's sound like cockroaches.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why ask a question in the headline if you are not going to answer it? Or at least clearly state that you don't know?

Is the idea to frustrate your readers?

I read all that and I still have no idea why there are no 7-11s in Shikoku.

The article could have just been titled "The mystery of no 7-11s in Shikoku" or something and be far less misleading.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

None down here on Okinawa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I believe 7-11 will come to shikoku in 2 yrs, from an inside source,however they,ll have to compete with Lawson who are basically located everywhere,not to mention Cicle K, Family mart,I don,t think there,s even room for one more Convenience store chain on shikoku, If and when they do arrive they,ll probably have to have an agressive marketing strategy..Jeez, I think I just answered the question to this misleading article!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

meh, I usually prefer Lawson or Family Mart

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Took a drive up the Akita coast the other week - Lawson Country. This 7-11 strategy seems to be common practice.

If you want to see a total domination effect you should check out Sado Island - the small convenience chain "SaveOn" is all there is to see there, at least in the mid 2000s.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would think certain business strategies you would want to keep quiet about. Let the competition know, and backfires, no?

Yeah, I remember the days of ubiquitous Lawsons. Now much less.

If Alexander above and his link I saw (which says 7-11 will have 520 stores in Shikoku by 2019) are right, maybe this article is like a pr release/advertisement for them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Where did they get the illustration for this article btw??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It all makes sense now after reading this article. I always wondered why so many 7-eleven's around the neighbor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

None down here on Okinawa.

One of the biggest reasons for that is that the 7/11 business plan has them creating their own distribution and food processing center in the area that they are looking to expand. Unlike some of the other conbini who out source a good portion of their product line and prepared foods, 7/11 does it in house and ships direct to their stores. The Okinawa market is too small for them to go this route.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Who cares? 7-11 is absolutely no different from any of the other big name stores in Japan. They pull their frozen drinks on September the first same as anyone else, and put out their oden earlier and earlier same as everyone else.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A quick Google Maps search of Japan’s top three convenience stores

That's the problem: you're using inferior technology. My iphone map shows several hundred 7-Elevens about 300 kilometers off the coast and in the middle of the Sea of Japan.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

On 9-11, it was announced that 7-11 is opening in Shikoku in the Japantimes. This article is outdated!

Are you going to delete my post for telling the truth???

Moderator: Seven & i has only said they are considering opening stores in Shikoku and Aormori. Nothing definite has been decided yet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's great the 7-11 is avoiding some areas - like we should avoid 7-11 because they do not support local farmers, as many items including food including vegetables come from China - Shame on them!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Yuri

Where do you live, there are tons of 7-11 where I live in the states.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

if 7-11 is so big was does their point card suck? Family mart has T-point which has a stack of affiliate's. Lawson has the the Ponta card and stack of major affiliate stores. 7-11 has what? nanaco with a mere scattering of no name affiliates. Those point cards may seem lame at first sight, but use them and over a year or two without trying you can rack up a plenty of points and actually get some cool things. Most gaijin might not bother but plenty of Japanese people do.

What's so special about 7-11 other than the the 24 hours banking facilities - that's about the only reason I have heard why people like them.

opens a bunch of stores and takes control of an entire area, the sight of each store acting as a sort of subliminal reminder.

Yes, a reminder that I need to drive past and wait for a Lawson or Fami-ma which will be just down the road, which luckily in Kansai is easy as 7-11 is a minor player

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's great the 7-11 is avoiding some areas - like we should avoid 7-11 because they do not support local farmers, as many items including food including vegetables come from China - Shame on them!

lawson 100 - support local farmers, and buy their produce mostly locally, often with the farmers picture next the produce. you know what you are getting. Hangaku items are particularly good value!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Not in Okinawa & 6 other prefectures but a news show recently showed they will open in Shikoku next year, spreading out just as they've done before. Obviously their business model is sound, they bought the founding company in the USA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My iphone map shows several hundred 7-Elevens about 300 kilometers off the coast and in the middle of the Sea of Japan.

China has just claimed they owned and operated a similar system to 7-11 in ancient times, and that those outlets in the sea of Japan are accordingly sovereign Chinese territory. This situation is about to get very ugly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

During my jaunts around Shikoku I never missed the absence of a 7-11. There are plenty of other stores to shop at on the island. But I'm speaking as an outsider as I don't live there and don't need to depend on such stores.

As long as there are Mr. Donuts around on Shikoku, I'm quite satisfied ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

7-11's domination strategy even extends to Singapore. In some areas 7-11's are the only convenience store seen. This is unfortunate as it leads to a mono-culture of products.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lawson 100 is the place for me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

give me ma and pa convenience store anytime........corporations are not people .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Given the aging citizens on Shikoku the name should change to 77-111.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Family mart for me!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It won't happen if I put an 11-Seven there first!!

Opening from 11am to 7pm wouldn't be very convenient!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Best salads and best sandwiches by a long way, though. Never got used to their rivals' poor efforts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just an FYI: the places in Japan where 7-11 are literally non-existent or very few:

Okinawa Shikoku (all 4 prefectures) Akita Tottori Aomori Shimane Kagoshima Iwata Fukui
0 ( +0 / -0 )

Being an idol is tough, huh, Takane?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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