Posts Tagged FT

Tesco’s exit adds to Japan’s tough reputation –

I’m interested in cultural differences, and in cross-cultural success stories. This FT article examines some of the reasons why foreign (non-Japanese) companies trying to enter the supermarket field have mostly failed, with the exception of Costco. The reasons for the failures seem to be a combination of lack of patience (expecting success too soon, not enough funds to survive many years with very small profits) and poor market-research, or perhaps assuming that Japanese consumers are similar to consumers everywhere.

The failures include Walmart (still here but struggling), Carrefour and Tesco. The reasons?

  1. “Carrefour failed to meet Japanese shoppers’ need for a broad range of fresh products they could buy daily in small quantities.”
  2. Walmart (which purchased Seiyu) “cannot find attractive acquisitions to expand in Japan”
  3. “With just 129 stores, compared with Aeon’s 1,900 or so stores, Tesco was just too small to compete with the large Japanese supermarket groups”
  4. “Western companies want to grow rapidly but that is unrealistic in Japan.”
  5. “the fiercely competitive Japanese retail market is a debilitating battleground, not just for foreign retailers… while operating profit margins for global groups, such as Tesco and Carrefour are about 5 per cent, for even the best Japanese supermarket groups they are around 3.5 per cent”

One exception has been Costco, the US membership discount wholesaler, which has slowly but steadily increased the number of stores it has in Japan.Increasingly cost-conscious Japanese consumers have flocked to Costco stores, often in groups, which share the large-sized packages that Costco products are generally sold in.Although Costco does not disclose its results, “the industry believes it is doing well and is keeping a close eye on it,” Mr Suzuki says.

via Tesco’s exit adds to Japan’s tough reputation –

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Eloquent orator seen as safe choice –

Jiro Yamaguchi, a political scientist at Hokkaido University, says Mr Noda is likely to try to avoid further friction and to instead pursue a conventional foreign policy stressing stability in ties with the US.“I don’t think that he’s a die-hard conservative or nationalist,” Prof Yamaguchi says. “I don’t think he will visit Yasukuni … he’s very cautious and he wants to avoid hot issues.”

via Eloquent orator seen as safe choice –

“Very cautious and wants to avoid hot issues.” That will make him stand out from the crowd, then.

There’s a phrase in Japanese “juu-rai doori” (or July dolly, as my colleague calls it). It means, according to precedent, or just carry on as usual. It’s a popular phrase in meetings, when no-one really wants to offer a novel idea, or no-one understands the issue well enough to comment. Then “July Dolly” makes everyone sound knowledgeable and cautious. Which of course they are.

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英FTは大震災をどう報じているか  :日本経済新聞

The Nikkei has collected links to FT (Financial Times) articles about the Japan disaster. (My translation: “The worst disaster to hit Japan since the war. How has it been reported in the foreign press? What is the state of Japan at present, and what kind of future can Japan look forward to? Here’s a list of links to FT articles on this subject.”


via 英FTは大震災をどう報じているか  :日本経済新聞.

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Why I don’t read newspapers

A sketch of the human brain imposed upon the p...
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More specifically, I don’t read opinion pieces. Here’s an example of why I don’t. In the Dec. 24th edition of the Financial Times, Harry Eyres wrote in a piece called Human beings or human resources?

… the Enlightenment project of raising human reason to god-like power has had disturbing results. These can be seen both in the state of nature, reduced and damaged possibly beyond repair, and of human beings, retooled as “human resources” – that is, means to be exploited rather than ends in themselves.

Really? What faculty is journalist Harry Eyres using here to figure out whether, in fact, nature has been  “damaged possibly beyond repair”? What faculty is he using to distinguish between human beings and human resources? Gut instinct? Emotion? Reflex? Ayn Rand would have a field-day with this: “an attack on human reason… part of the arsenal in the battle between reason and progress on the one hand, and those who would have us return to barbarism on the other.” Even worse, Eyres is a journalist, a moulder of public opinion, and as an educated man, he should know better.

As Constitutional historian John Whitehead wrote elsewhere in a different context, The media has been very bad about informing us about what is going on. They focus on surface things.

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