Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Walmartization of Seiyu

The department store chain "Seiyu" is one of the larger ones, at least in the greater Kanto area of Japan. The stores are usually quite cheap and often in conjunction with train stations and feature a regular supermarket and a decent selection of other stuff of stuff ranging from decent to questionable. It's a quite typical small Japanese department store and can be useful if you live close to one, but nothing spectacular that makes it worth going out of one's way to find one.

Since quite a few years back, I knew that American chain Walmart had aqcuired a majority ownership stake in Seiyu and by now, I think it's a fully owned subsidiary of Walmart. The Walmart ownership hardly was noticeable the last time I found myself in a Seiyu department store (a few months back) but as I happened to find myself in one this weekend I was surprised by the total walmartization that the store had gone through.

The selection of goods in the supermarket section was basically identical to that of any other larger supermarket and nothing "Walmarty" or American about it, but this time all of the signs had been replaced by new signs in the blue color of Walmart and looked distinctively "non-Japanese". To my big dissapointment though, the customers looked like normal Japanese people and nothing like those in people of Walmart in the US. Maybe this will have changed by the next time I find myself in one?


Sarahf said...

Ha! I can't wait for Walmart people of Japan!

lina said...

Wonder whether Japanese Walmart will morph into something similar to Walmart people of America. That be interesting to see.

aimlesswanderer said...

I wonder if the clientel will be the Japanese equivalent of bogans. Ie people who think that need to "dress up" (in shorts and moth eaten tshirt) to go there.

Anonymous said...

Went to a Seiyu in the Sanjo shotengai in Kyoto a few years ago. It already looked like the run-down, cramped, dirty Walmarts here in the Chicago suburbs. No blue in sight (although the deal had been done a year or two prior), but I could swear there were folks who would qualify for "people of Walmart" even back then.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Saraf - Yeah, but it would be quite dissapointing unless the clientel gets more interesting

Lina - I can't really see that happening, Seiyu have a quite different position in the market compared to Walmart in the US, but they seem to be carrying more walmarty and imported stuff nowadays though

Aimless - Well, it would be more fun

Anonymous - Maybe you can start a people of Seiyu instead?

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