Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)
Japan has the third-richest economy in the world, so it’s fitting that American businesses would want to establish a foothold in that country.
This is a challenge, particularly for Western companies which may not be able to fully understand Japan’s unique culture.
You might be curious if you have ever been to the Land of the Rising Sun or if you’ve visited Japan. You might be surprised to learn that the truth is no, it just so happens that Japan has Walmart.
Is Walmart In Japan In 2022?
Walmart’s Japan presence is defined by the retaining of a share in Sieyu’s supermarket chain, and the partnership it has with Rakuten. Rakuten in Japan is Japan’s most prominent eCommerce firm. Sieyu, a Walmart subsidiary, was sold 85 percent in November 2020.
Japan has How Many Walmarts
Walmart Japan does not actually have Japanese store locations. Instead, Walmart Japan owned and operated Japanese Seiyu grocery outlets.
According to Bridget Goldschmidt of ProgressiveGrocer.com, there are about 300 Seiyu locations all throughout Japan.
These include a dozen or so clustered in and around Tokyo, as well as locations near Nagano, Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagasaki.
Seiyu: What Does It Mean?
Seiyu, the Japanese grocery chain Walmart purchased in its entirety in 2008 is known by the name.
The Japanese chain, which was founded in 1963 had been around for a long time. Walmart began its acquisition in 2002, when they purchased a 37 percent stake in the company.
Walmart seized the majority stake in three years.
Walmart, six years following its original investment in Seiyu, became its sole owner.
Seiyu Supermarkets can be compared to Walmart Neighborhood Markets. Seiyu Supermarkets may look more like Walmart Supercenters.
Then there’s the Seiyu General Merchandise Store, in Tokyo, that sells no food.
Christian Monson published a piece about Japan’s shopping and highlighted some similarities and differences in Walmart and Seiyu.
Monson believes that the Seiyu supermarkets can be almost identical to Walmart Neighborhood Markets.
Seiyu Supermarkets have the same feel as Western supermarkets.
Monson is of the opinion that hypermarkets show the largest differences.
He describes how Seiyu Hypermarkets are actually placed in the basements of large buildings in the middle of bustling city centers like Tokyo.
Walmart might have been interested in Seiyu because Supercenters do not offer easy access in larger cities.
Monson notes that Seiyu can sell products which are quite unique (and appropriate culturally); certain shops even have kimonos available for everyone.
What Challenges Did Walmart Face In Japan?
Some people may ask blunter questions: What caused Walmart to fail in Japan?
Walmart had spent years slogging through Japan’s retail market without much success and announced their intention to give up 85 percent.
This market also has other sellers running, tails tucked; the French Carrefour from France and Alliance Boots in the UK.
It is so difficult in Japan to be successful.
Although this unbending attitude was somewhat admirable, it did not occur fast enough for Seiyu to see a change in its already poor sales performance.
A change in the supply chain led to a popular item vanishing from stores; that alone caused customers, comfortable with the previous selection, to avoid Seiyu .
That same article stated that Walmart executives were less concerned about store employees than they are with management.
Walmart’s emphasis in frozen foods (very common in America) made it difficult and unpleasant for Japanese shoppers, who were used and used to fresh produce.
Is Rakuten Part Of Walmart?
Rakuten is a partner in business and a stakeholder with Walmart.
Rakuten was actually able to buy a 20% share in Seiyu, while Walmart will continue to hold a 15% stake.
Walmart was also joined by Rakuten for the launch of an online store, called Walmart Rakuten Ichiba.
This was an eCommerce platform that sold American products and Walmart fulfilled the orders.
Additionally, Rakuten and Walmart teamed up to offer online grocery delivery and e-readers/ebooks/audiobooks, a la Amazon.
Rakuten, while not being part of Walmart’s portfolio, is closely linked to the company in many ways.
If you are looking to learn more about Walmart, you might also be interested in reading up on if Walmart is in India or Delhi, if Walmart is in New Zealand, and if Walmart is in the UK or London.
Walmart is a Japanese company that has been present in Japan since 2000. However, it’s obvious that things aren’t always going the way Walmart would like.
Walmart’s failure to adapt to deeply embedded Japanese culture and customs was evident.
Walmart should still be interested in their strong ties with Rakuten Japan’s largest online retailer.
.Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)