Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from Raw Japan:

Retailers do the limbo

JAPAN-ECONOMY/For some of Japan's retailers trying to jumpstart consumer spending, setting prices is like doing the limbo: How low can they go?

Japanese retailers reported mostly dismal first-half earnings results, with the industry stuck in a slump as shoppers remain reluctant to open their wallets even as the economy emerges from recession.

With no sales pick-up in sight, stores seem to have no choice but to continue their race to undercut rivals, with prices dropping for everything from cars to clothes to milk.

On the surface it sounds like a shopper's paradise: Who wouldn't mind paying less than 1,000 yen ($11) for a pair of jeans?