Asia autos correspondent, Tokyo
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Oct 20, 2014

Japan’s Java wars: Convenience stores angle for coffee market crown

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s convenience store operators are jostling for eminence in a famously cut-throat industry, and one product has come up trumps for the market’s top players – coffee.

Millions and millions of cups of it.

Inspired by a popular 100 yen ($0.93) blend launched by McDonald’s in 2008, Seven-Eleven touched off a boom in convenience store coffee last year, lifting Japan’s long-stagnant coffee market and rankling rival businesses.

Oct 9, 2014

Fast Retailing sees profit growing on expanded Uniqlo line

TOKYO, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Japan’s Fast Retailing Co
said on Thursday it expects profit to grow 38 percent in the
year ahead as its core Uniqlo casual wear brand expands its
offering of kids’ and high-tech clothing.

Asia’s biggest retailer has more than trebled its revenue
over the past decade with rapid expansion in Asia and brisk
sales of its heat-generating innerwear, Ultra Light Down line
and other functional clothing that it has become known for since
launching its 1,900 yen ($18) fleece jackets 20 years ago.

Oct 2, 2014

Japan’s Seven & I misses own profit target as consumer spending flags

TOKYO, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Japanese retail giant Seven & I
Holdings turned in a first-half profit that came up
short of its own expectations while slowing growth at its core
7-Eleven convenience store chain points to weakening consumer
spending across the country.

While the retailer said on Thursday operating profit still
rose 1.6 percent in the six months to Aug. 31, the shortfall
comes amid growing questions over consumer spending trends after
Japan raised its sales tax to 8 percent in April from 5 percent.
Seven & I also warned consumer sentiment was being hit as the
weaker yen means Japan has to pay more to import fuel and power

Oct 1, 2014

Don Quijote leads Japan tourism push to rake in sales

TOKYO, Oct 1 (Reuters) – While Japanese retailers struggle
to cope with the burden of a sales tax hike, discount store
operator Don Quijote Holdings aims to extend its
25-year run of rising profits by taking a different approach:
turning Japan into a tourist mecca.

Foreign tourists flock to its chain of 24-hour mega-stores
for midnight shopping sprees, spending on average almost 20
times more than the typical Japanese shopper. Other retailers
are looking to follow Don Quijote’s lead as Japan on Wednesday
expands the list of items eligible for duty-free shopping.

Sep 30, 2014

Don Quijote to open Japanese take-out food chain in U.S. next year

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese discount store operator Don Quijote Holdings will open a new chain in the United States early next year selling take-out Japanese food such as deep-fried oysters and noodles to tap growing demand for Japanese cuisine, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

“If you go to the United States, you can get high-end Japanese food as well as ingredients but there’s a gap when it comes to the kind of middle-of-the-road prepared food that’s popular in Japanese supermarkets,” Takao Yasuda told Reuters in an interview.

Sep 8, 2014

Nishikori’s U.S. Open tour de force lands marketing windfalls for lucky few

TOKYO, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Kei Nishikori’s trail-blazing wins
for Japanese tennis in the U.S. Open over the past week are
landing big marketing victories for sponsors including a fashion
retailer and a watch brand as surprised as anyone at his
historic feat.

The 24-year-old became the first male player from Asia to
advance to any grand slam final after beating Novak Djokovic
before a disbelieving crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on

Aug 25, 2014

Japan Tobacco has no plans for further e-cigarette M&A -CEO

TOKYO, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Japan Tobacco Inc is
currently not interested in further acquisitions of vaporisers
or electronic cigarette brands, its president said on Monday.

Japan Tobacco, the world’s third-biggest tobacco company is
poised to complete a takeover of Zandera, the UK maker of the
E-Lites e-cigarette brand, in the next few weeks.

Aug 18, 2014

Shares in Japan’s Chugai surge on report of Roche buyout offer

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares in Japan’s Chugai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (4519.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) jumped 15 percent on Monday on a media report that its 60-percent shareholder, Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), was in talks to buy the rest of the company for about $10 billion.

Chugai denied over the weekend that it was in talks with Roche over a buyout but investors dismissed the statement, sending the shares limit-up in early trade, to a record 4,015 yen, before closing up 15.4 percent at 3,825 yen.

Aug 12, 2014

Drop a coin, grab a snack: Kiosk-in-a-box spreads in Japan

TOKYO, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Japan’s long-toiling office
workers have an incentive to stay chained to their desks:
shrimp-flavoured crackers, cafe-au-lait taffies, spicy potato
chips and M&M candy.

Confectionery maker Ezaki Glico has taken
convenience to a new level for corporate employees too busy to
pop out of the office with kiosks-in-a-box filled with munchies.

Aug 5, 2014

Japanese drugmaker Takeda to raise the bar on research projects

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co will become more stringent in research and development projects, its newly appointed president said on Tuesday, as the company struggles with shrinking margins due to a dearth of new products.

Christophe Weber, a Frenchman poached from GlaxoSmithKline in April, said Takeda was still reviewing which, if any, of its six major fields of therapy it would exit, but added that it would only now invest in areas where it would “be the best”.

    • About Chang-Ran

      "I have been covering the Japanese auto industry since 2002, broadening coverage to the Asian region in 2003."
      Joined Reuters:
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