When you walk into a store, you won’t believe your eyes at the prices..! Half-price stores” are the savior of high prices “Surprising purchasing methods | FRIDAY DIGITAL

When you walk into a store, you won’t believe your eyes at the prices..! Half-price stores” are the savior of high prices “Surprising purchasing methods

Half Price Warehouse, 222, Kuradashi, and TOHAMART: An In-Depth Study of the "Top Four" in the Industry The Unknown Side of 62 Yen for a Canned Coffee and 2,000 Yen for an Air Purifier

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222 has the words “everything half-price” written larger than the name of the restaurant on its signboard.

On a scorching hot day, a FRIDAY reporter was walking down an alley about five minutes from Akihabara Station in Tokyo. As he was about to enter a convenience store to quench his thirst, he noticed the words “half-price specialty store” displayed on the electronic bulletin board of the store opposite him. I wondered if it might be a new type of drugstore, and when I entered the store labeled “To Amart,” I was shocked to see a shocking sight.

A 525-ml PET bottle of “raw tea” was 87 yen, and a 185-ml can of iced coffee “FIRE” was 62 yen–everything was really half price. In the air-conditioned store, as I regained consciousness, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Amid high prices, “half-price stores” are attracting attention.

The four major ones are “Hanpaku Soko,” “Triple Two,” “Kuradashi,” and “To Amart. Each continues to evolve along its own unique lines. Distribution journalist Junnosuke Nagahama explains.

The one that raised the profile of Hanpaku Shops is Hanpaku Soko, which has been pursuing its own PR strategy, with the president of the operating company himself appearing in the media and uploading videos to YouTube. It can be said to be the spark that ignited the boom.

As the name implies, the majority of the “Half-Price Warehouses,” which operate mainly in the Kansai region, are warehouses that have been moved out of their original locations. The large sales floor is lined with nearly 10,000 items, including furniture and home electronics. A young couple was looking at the items, saying, “Aren’t they too cheap? They were looking at a BBQ grill that was priced at 15,000 yen instead of 49,800 yen.

In contrast, “222,” which specializes in groceries and daily necessities, was a good example of the kind of merchandise that can be found at a store like this. Mr. Nagahama continues.

They are trying to coexist with other retailers by opening stores near drugstores and supermarkets, as well as in major shopping malls.”

When we visited the store in Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture, some customers returned again after peeking into the adjacent supermarket, perhaps to compare prices. The item that sold like hotcakes that day was an expired millefeuille from Ginza Sembikiya. The regular price of 2,112 yen was 211 yen! Customers were taking the products one after another and heading for the cash register, saying, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a little too much …….”

Kuradashi opened on the Internet in 2003 as a food loss countermeasure, and is the only one of the four that sells fresh food. In addition to meat and fish fillets, it also sells locally produced and locally consumed brand-name rice, making it a strong ally on the dining table. A spokesperson for Kuradashi said, “We sell our main products through our e-commerce site.

Our main sales are through our e-commerce site, and we have only two physical stores, in Tama Plaza and Kisarazu. We also make an effort to contribute to society by allowing customers to choose an organization they wish to support and donate 1-5% of the sales price to it.

Purchasing in the “grab bag” style

The “Toamart” mentioned at the beginning of this article is operated by Toa Sangyo, a hygiene supply company that used to provide free PCR testing at COVID-19 crisis. Located within walking distance from the station, the store is characterized by its 24-hour operation (currently in the process of shortening its hours). The first store opened in Akihabara in October 2009, when there were a number of vacant tenants in the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, the company has opened stores throughout Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

Since then, they have opened stores all over the country, from Hokkaido to Kyushu. However, the number of stores is still overwhelming at 59,” said retail and distribution analyst Akihito Nakai.

If you make good use of the top four, you can get products of many genres at half the price. They are truly the saviors of the era of rising prices. How was the half-price service realized? The secret, he says, is his own procurement route. The secret lies in our unique procurement route,” said Shinsuke Isoyu, president of ISOYU, which operates the half-price warehouse.

The main items are returns from online retailers, items on display at retail stores, and manufacturers’ surplus goods. The rest are new used goods. These are products that are deemed too dirty or damaged in the box to be wholesaled to retailers. Also, …… manufacturers make so much surplus that it costs money to dispose of it, so they contact us and say, ‘We want you to buy it, even if it’s cheap.

In the midst of this situation, Half Price Warehouse has developed a unique method called “whole truck 10-ton purchasing.

We get wholesalers, who regularly accumulate defective products, to wholesale 10 tons of inventory three times a month for a fixed price. Because of labor costs, the contents cannot be confirmed in advance. It is similar to a grab bag. Many times they are full of inexpensive sundries, but sometimes they contain expensive items such as Nintendo DS and Apple products. When these items appear, the cost ratio drops dramatically,” says Isoyu.

When we were shown the second-floor warehouse at the Hanpaku Soko Kizugawa store (Kyoto Prefecture), we found Amazon’s cardboard boxes piled high and narrow.

222″ also focuses on seasonal products.

Seasonal items such as swimsuits and plastic pools are returned after the Bon Festival. At that point, the season is over, but we stock them at a discount. Then, after storing them in our warehouse, we put them on the sales floor at the beginning of the next year’s season,” said Ryotaro Araki, manager of the store promotion team in the sales department of Gatto Libero, which operates 222.

The reporter also witnessed what could be called “price magic. At 222, after the cashier passes the item through the register, a sound effect is heard and the price is reduced by half.

The “222” store’s “price magic” works because consumers are more willing to pay more if they see a big discount at the end of the sale than if they see a lower price on the sales floor. This is how we attract repeat customers,” says Araki.

Mr. Isoyu, mentioned above, says that he sometimes sells items at less than half the price if necessary.

For example, today’s featured product is an air purifier priced at 13,000 yen. For example, today’s featured product is an air purifier normally priced at 13,000 yen. We set the price of our featured items based on the opinions of part-time housewives. They have a very serious eye when it comes to deciding how much they are willing to pay for a product.

This is truly a “now or never” opportunity!

AII About Money Saving Guide’s Kikuno Yano talks about how to maximize savings by wisely using half-price stores.

For example, at Kuradashi, you can order a large quantity of items, such as 48 pasta sauces. It is recommended to use it on the assumption that you will share it with your friends.
The time of year is also important: the month from mid-August to mid-September is a good time to use the half-price store for savings. Usually, this is the time of year when a large number of gifts are returned for the middle of the year. It makes it easier to get quality hams, oils, and other high-end consumables at lower prices.”

Similarly, from mid-January to mid-February, after the year-end gift-giving season, is another opportunity to buy high-end foodstuffs and other gifts at bargain prices.

Mr. Nakai, the aforementioned half-price store owner, says that more ingenuity is needed for half-price stores to survive in the retail industry.

The concern is that they seem to be competing on the basis of the “absolute low price” of “half price,”” he said. Okay,” which is known as a supermarket with extremely low prices, sells top-brand products at 70% lower prices at any given time. This is attractive because the products that everyone knows are “relatively inexpensive. Another strong point is that the same products are always on sale.

On the other hand, half-price stores cannot always sell the same products due to their stocking system.
Drugstores attract customers by selling frequently purchased groceries at low prices, and they also make a profit by having customers buy high-margin pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Half-price stores also need to find ways to communicate values other than “half price.

This month, the price of milk and yogurt has been raised, and there are no signs that the high prices of commodities will stop. Taking advantage of this, both Half Price Warehouse and 222 are planning to open more stores.

Although there are downsides, such as being out of model, past the expiration date, or dirty, there is no doubt that this is one of the most powerful cards for defending one’s livelihood. There should be no harm in visiting a half-price store and researching how to use it to suit your lifestyle.

Inside the Half-Price Warehouse Kizugawa store, products are lined up in a cramped space.
Kuradashi does not have many products in its actual stores, but mainly on its e-commerce site.
A pop-up saying “Expired” is also displayed at 222.

From the August 18-25, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kei Kato

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