Home improvement store industry research] From the absolute champion, Cain’s, to its rivals… The whole picture of the “never-ending battle | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Home improvement store industry research] From the absolute champion, Cain’s, to its rivals… The whole picture of the “never-ending battle

From carpentry supplies to ideas, you can find everything here! The "champion" Cain's, DCM & Keiyo-D2 and other "giant alliances", "popular with construction companies" Kohnan, "popular with farmers" Comeri, Shimachu with Nitori, "black ship" Handsman, etc.

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Home centers, which require a large sales floor space, have developed in the suburbs. On the other hand, some companies are planning to expand into the city center.

Last November, a home improvement center opened in Yebisu Garden Place, a prime location in the heart of the city. It is called “DCM DIY place. The center offers not only shopping, but also booths where visitors can try their hand at reupholstering wallpaper and painting.

It’s hard to paint the corners evenly: ……”

A reporter who visited the DIY place in early September also had a chance to try painting. After being recommended the replacement of a shower head as an “easy renovation” that can be done even in a rental apartment, the reporter immediately replaced the shower head in the bathroom with a “DCM Premium Shower Head” (3,828 yen), which is expected to save about 30% of water. –The home improvement center industry is now worth 4 trillion yen.

The home improvement industry is now a huge market worth more than 4 trillion yen. The name “home” comes from the fact that they offer everything related to housing. Distribution journalist Tadako Ishibashi tells the story.

The COVID-19 crisis led to an increase in the number of hours spent at home, which in turn increased demand for home furnishings and home comfort products, and in 2008 sales increased for all companies. After that, demand temporarily declined in reaction to the disaster, and is now in the process of reviving. Now that the demand for nest eggs has settled down, each company is focusing on sales of kitchenware and household goods in an effort to attract female customers.

Currently reigning at the top of the industry is Cain’s, which originated in Gunma Prefecture. The company forms a large retail group with BaySea supermarket and Workman work clothes.

The home improvement center business model was originally strong in the suburbs, but Cain’s has quickly expanded into urban centers by joining forces with Tokyu Hands (now Hands), which is opening stores in the city center. Mr. Ishibashi continues.

The acquisition of Tokyu Hands by Cains, announced in 2009, is one of the most successful corporate mergers in history. The acquisition of Tokyu Hands by Cains in 2009 was one of the most successful corporate mergers in the history of Japan.

When I visited the Cain’s Hands Shinjuku store on the 8th floor of Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku, a representative store in the heart of the city, two women in their 30s were chatting and shopping. They were shopping for Cain’s private-brand (PB) kitchenware. They put a cold water bottle with an unobtrusive handle (980 yen) and a ladle with an unbreakable tip (398 yen) in their baskets, and left happily, saying, “You really understand how housewives feel.

The “Male of the West” makes a great leap forward

The second largest company in the industry is “DCM,” which was introduced at the beginning of this report. It was created in 2006 through the merger of Homac, Daikki, and Kama. In 2005, Keiyo, which is strong in the Kanto region, became an affiliate.

For a while after the merger, DCM overtook Cain’s and took over the No. 1 position, but since fiscal 2007, it has again surrendered the top spot to Cain’s,” said retail and distribution analyst Akihito Nakai.

In fact, when the three companies merged, DCM did not decide which company would make the decisions, and each company developed its own operating companies individually. This was a disadvantage because management decisions were made too slowly.

In ’21, we integrated the operating companies into one “DCM” company. Since purchasing and systems were also integrated, the speed of management has increased. Aggressive decisions, such as the opening of a store in Yebisu Garden Place, have also become conspicuous,” said Hiroaki Watanabe, a consumer-economy journalist.

Home improvement stores are an industry in which sales differ markedly by region. Because snow shoveling demand is added to sales when it snows, the industry is said to be “high in the east and low in the west.

In such an environment, Kohnan, headquartered in Osaka, is the company with the strongest presence in western Japan. Kohnan, headquartered in Osaka, has a unique strategy.

Kohnan is opening stores in residential areas where demand for remodeling is expected to increase. Unlike general contractors, small and medium-sized construction companies and local painters procure materials at home centers. This is where the Kohnan PRO business model focused its attention. PRO alone accounts for nearly a quarter of our sales, and we are the sole winner in terms of demand from construction companies.

Another company that has succeeded by specializing in a particular segment of buyers is Komeri. Also successful is “Comeri,” which is known as a “farmer’s convenience store,” and has adopted a strategy of opening a large number of small stores in 46 prefectures (excluding Okinawa). Mr. Nakai, the aforementioned “Farmers’ Convenience Store,” explains.

One notable feature is that the company has a direct tie-up with an agricultural cooperative and takes on the responsibility of selling goods. While many agricultural cooperatives are malfunctioning in material sales, we are taking charge of their needs. Since we have a hold on areas where agriculture is thriving, unlike other companies, we do not have to force ourselves to open stores in urban centers or consider the demand from women.

Some companies are making their presence known by joining forces with other industries. Shimachu, which became a member of the Nitori Group, a major furniture retailer, is a prime example. The company originally started out as a furniture store, so there is a strong affinity between the two companies in this business integration.

When we visited a Shimachu store, we found Nitori products lined up next to Shimachu’s PB products such as stepladders and buckets. In addition to furniture such as the “Kotatsu Quilt” (3,990 yen), Nitori’s “Spicy Beef Curry” (276 yen) was also on display.

Arklands is no different in that it is finding a way to partner with other industries. Originally Arkland Sakamoto, the company operates Home Center Musashi. It changed its name last year when it merged with Viva Home.

In 2009, Arklands formed a business alliance with Yamada Denki for store development. Yamada Denki is engaged in a showroom and remodeling type of business called Life Select.

A reporter from a distribution industry journal commented, “We may see more home centers being acquired by electronics retailers through mergers and acquisitions in the future.

Handsman, which has grown locally in Kyushu, will open its first store in Honshu on October 12 at AEON TOWN Matsubara in Osaka. Mr. Nakai, the aforementioned sales manager, said, “The store will be the first of its kind to open in Honshu.

The gardening department is as busy as a botanical garden. The number of items in a home improvement center is usually 60,000 to 70,000, but Handsman has over 280,000 items. The company not only has a huge and well-stocked store, but also its employees have a high level of expertise. When I visited the store in Kyushu, I was smoothly guided to which sales floor contained what materials. I have no doubt that they will steal a considerable number of customers from Konan, which has its stronghold in the Kansai region.”

Because the industry handles a wide variety of products, each company is drawing on its own knowledge and strengths. The competition involving other industries will intensify throughout Japan.

The latest “at-a-glance” power map of Cain’s, the king, and its counterparts…
From left to right: “Cold water bottle that can be placed vertically or horizontally” (798 yen), “Standing broom” (1,280 yen), all prices include tax.
From left to right: “A ladle that won’t get stuck” (398 yen) and “A turner that won’t get stuck” (398 yen). Private brands account for nearly 40% of total sales. All prices include tax.
DCM DIY experience] DCM DIY place is expected to play a more important role as a billboard than sales. The paint experience corner is popular.
Shimachu’s “Fusion with Nitori”】Shimachu and Nitori are cooperating with each other not only by displaying products (right) but also by sharing the same points. At a Shimachu Homes store in Tokyo, Nitori storage boxes and other items, as well as blankets and futons needed for the coming season, were stacked on top of each other.

From the October 6, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Tetsuzo Takehiro

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