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Report: Wal-Mart plans to close 30 Seiyu stores in Japan


Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to close about 30 underperforming Seiyu stores in Japan. Wal-Mart first invested in Seiyu in 2002 and took full control of the chain in 2008.

Wal-Mart will also accelerate remodels of existing Seiyu stores with particular focus on enhancing fresh and deli categories. The company plans to remodel approximately 50 stores in 2015. At the same time Seiyu will steadily drive EDLC (Every Day Low Cost) and attempt to improve productivity across the company, with the objective of significantly strengthening its EDLP (Every Day Low Price) strategy.

Wal-Mart will invest in the deli manufacturing facilities of Wakana, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seiyu, to improve overall productivity and enhance production capabilities. It will introduce more versatile cooking and processing equipment, providing greater flexibly to increase and upgrade menu variety.

Regarding fresh foods, the company will set up dedicated quality control (QC) facilities and teams at all distribution centers (DCs) by the end of 2015, establishing a system to implement DC-based comprehensive inspections on all major produce items. The inspection results will be shared with suppliers to pursue continuous improvement both in quality and productivity. This QC system will expand to meat and fish categories in the future.

In the Greater Tokyo area, where demand for online grocery home delivery is growing, Seiyu will increase its fulfillment and service capacities in the next three years. With a goal to expand the service coverage to the entire metropolitan area, the company will accelerate steps to improve productivity of its online grocery operations.

Wal-Mart operates a total of 434 Japanese stores. Wal-Mart began expanding its operations in Japan in 2012, but encountered difficulty with its low-price model in the Japanese market. The retailer expects to incur charges of four to five cents per share during the next several quarters as a result of the closures.
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