- Walmart operates the Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu, which looks surprisingly similar to Walmart stores in the United States.
- Walmart acquired the Seiyu grocery chain in 2008, six years after initially investing in it.
- Seiyu carries a lot of American candy bars, sodas, meats, and more. It also has an arcade and food court.
Even though the store goes by a different name, shopping at Walmart in Japan is a lot like shopping at Walmart in the United States.
Walmart first invested in the Japanese grocery chain Seiyu in 2002, taking full control of the chain in 2008. Although the stores still operate under the name Seiyu, the chain is a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart.
There are 328 Seiyu locations in Japan, including 236 supermarkets, 91 hypermarkets that sell apparel in addition to food and consumables, and one Tokyo location that stocks general merchandise but no food. It recently partnered with the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten to form a grocery delivery service that will launch in the second half of 2018.
Seiyu opened in 1963, long before Walmart was involved in the business. There are a lot of similarities between Seiyu in Japan and Walmart in the US. One similarity is the products offered – the Japanese stores offer products like American beef, Coca-Cola, Snickers, and Kit Kat. However, products like Kit Kats are often sold in varieties that aren’t available in the US, like green tea and purple sweet potato.
Japanese supermarkets tend to be impeccably clean and organised, and Seiyu is no exception. At the same time, the stores are reminiscent of American Walmart stores, with bright fluorescent lights and wide aisles.
Here’s what Walmart is like in Japan:
Walmart Japan operates under the name Seiyu. Walmart first invested in the supermarket chain Seiyu in 2002 and officially acquired it in 2008.
The stores are huge, and many locations are open for 24 hours. Like Walmart in the US, the stores can often be found in strip malls.
The stores are generally very well maintained and spotlessly clean. The stores sell a lot of American brands, like Coca-Cola and Disney.
The produce department of the store is very similar to its US equivalent, and some of the signs are written in English. Even the colour scheme of the store is very similar to the US version.
The aisles can also look eerily similar to Walmart in the US.
Seiyu stores have wider aisles than many other grocery stores in Japan.
Source: New York Times
The prices are displayed in bright yellow like in the US, showing a focus on price-consciousness.
The prices are show in Japanese Yen.
Shelves are typically fully stocked at all times.
There’s a section of the store called the “comfort corner,” which sells products like entire cheesecakes for around $US4.50.
It also sells cakes, cookies, and pastries.
Seiyu grocery stores also have food courts.
The food courts sell meals like ramen and sushi.
Some Seiyu stores even have Starbucks in them.
Seiyu stores often feature giant vending machines like this one.
This one offers a variety of different sodas.
And the stores often have arcade games, like this claw machine.
Many Walmart stores in the US have similar machines as well.
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