Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from Raw Japan:

Convenience stores high on drugs?

Takeshi Niinami was a frequent visitor to the drugstore Walgreens in the United States when he was studying at Harvard business school about 20 years ago, buying food and household items in addition to medicine there.

"I wished we had stores like that. It would have been so convenient," said Niinami, now CEO of Lawson, Japan's second-largest convenience store chain.


Niinami is finally seeing his wish come true, announcing last week that Lawson will team up with Japan's No. 1 drugstore chain Matsumotokiyoshi to jointly open outlets that combine drugstores and convenience stores after the government introduced less rigorous restrictions on selling most over-the-counter medicine earlier this year. Niinami sees offering medicine as key in his store makeover efforts to appeal to the older generation.

Still, some recent media coverage on the topic would make you think pharmaceuticals are going to be readily available at your nearby "combini" in a flash, which looks highly doubtful. In fact, it's unlikely we'll see drugs on the shelves at the majority of the country's 42,000-plus convenience stores, at least under the current regulations.

Cool clothing for the cartel


MEXICO-DRUGS/Put this in the “No press is bad press” file: We all know the trendy Abercrombie & Fitch clothing brand is a favorite of teenage Americans and European and Japanese tourists.  Apparently it’s a favorite of alleged drug lords, too.

Vicente Carrillo Leyva, a suspected Mexican drug trafficker, was hauled in front of the cameras last week after his arrest — wearing a natty white track suit with the Abercrombie logo prominently displayed on his chest.  The accused leader of the Juarez cartel was seized while jogging.
No word on what effect the arrest will have on sales of white A&F track suits.