Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

Japan is home to the third-richest country in the world. It’s no surprise that American companies would seek out Japan for business opportunities.

That can be difficult, though, especially for Western companies, who may lack insight into the particular culture of Japan and its shoppers.

You might be curious if you have ever been to the Land of the Rising Sun or if you’ve visited Japan. While the short answer is yes it isn’t exactly as you may think.

What is the number of Walmarts in Japan?

Walmart Japan doesn’t actually own any stores of its brand; it instead owned and managed the well-known Japanese Seiyu grocery store chain.

According to Bridget Goldschmidt of, there are about 300 Seiyu locations all throughout Japan.

There are a few scattered around Tokyo and Osaka.

Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

What Is Seiyu?

Seiyu stands for the Japanese grocery store chain, which Walmart bought to its full ownership in 2008.

The chain was established in 1963 and has been trusted in Japan for decades. Walmart acquired a 37% stake in the company and began their acquisition of it in 2002.

Walmart was finally able to buy the majority share three years later.

And three years after that, a mere six years after its initial investment, Walmart became the sole owner, absorbing Seiyu into its family of holdings.

Seiyu Supermarkets can be compared to Walmart Neighborhood Markets. Seiyu Supermarkets may look more like Walmart Supercenters.

Another Seiyu General Merchandise location is located in Tokyo. It doesn’t sell food.

Christian Monson wrote about Japan shopping. He described many similarities and contrasts between Seiyu’s and Walmart.

Monson says that Seiyu Supermarkets is almost as comparable to Walmart Neighborhood Marts.

Seiyu supermarkets can feel almost like Western supermarkets according to Mr.

Monson believes that the greatest differences exist between hypermarkets.

Seiyu hypermarkets can be found in basements of big buildings, in bustling cities like Tokyo.

That might be part of the reason why Walmart was so interested in acquiring Seiyu – Supercenters are not known for their accessibility in large cities.

  • Walmart was able to access millions of customers in just two or three cities by purchasing Seiyu.
  • Monson mentions also that Seiyu products may be very different and culturally sensitive. Some stores, for instance, sell kimonos in one size fits all.

    What Challenges Did Walmart Face In Japan?

    Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

    As others ask, why did Walmart fail Japan?

    After years of working in the Japanese market, Walmart finally announced that they would be giving up 85 per cent of their shares.

    This market also has other sellers running, tails tucked; the French Carrefour from France and Alliance Boots in the UK.

    So, why is it so hard to do it in Japan

  • The Japanese distaste of products that appear “cheap,” unfortunately, led to Walmart’s business model which offered steeply discounted items.
  • 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.

  • Nikkei Asian also refers to Walmart’s “failure to take into account local customs, diet habits and labor relations.”
  • An alteration in the supply chains led to the disappearance of a favorite item from the stores. That alone caused Seiyu customers who were comfortable with the selection to stay away from Seiyu.

    According to that same article, Walmart higher-ups focused more on managerial staff than store employees.

    For Japanese consumers who are used to fresh fruits and meats, Walmart’s focus on frozen food (which is very popular in the U.S.A.) was disconcerting.

    Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

    Is Rakuten Part Of Walmart?

    Rakuten has been and continues to be a business partner of Walmart.

    Rakuten acquired a 20 per cent stake in Seiyu. Walmart lost most of its shares.

    Walmart and Rakuten teamed up in 2018 to launch an online shop called the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Shop.

    The concept was an eCommerce platform, selling American goods, where Walmart fulfills the orders.

    Additionally, Rakuten and Walmart teamed up to offer online grocery delivery and e-readers/ebooks/audiobooks, a la Amazon.

    Rakuten may not be part of Walmart but the companies have a strong relationship in multiple 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.

  • Conclusion
  • Walmart has been present in Japan ever since the beginning of 2000. But it is clear that things have not always gone as planned.

    Walmart’s problems were caused by deep-rooted Japanese culture.

    Their close relationship with Rakuten (Japan’s biggest online retailer) should result in interesting ongoing projects for Walmart.

    .Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

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