Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Annals of cheap: Kenko.com

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Water, water everywhere

Remember back in March, right after the earthquake, when people all over the Kanto area were cleaning the stores out of batteries and mineral water? It seems like a long time ago, especially to Kenko.com, an Internet sales company that specializes in “everyday goods.” Like a lot of retailers, Kenko.com made a lot of money in a short time and expected to keep making it, but people eventually calmed down. In the meantime, the company bought all the bottled water it could get its hands on and as a result it’s been left with a huge overrun of inventory. By June 11, its stock of bottled water was 37 percent larger than it was exactly a year earlier.

The loss in profits for the company as a result of this over-supply is estimated to be anywhere from ¥180 to ¥220 million for fiscal 2011, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, and the stockholders are understandably anxious, so that means they’ve got to get rid of this water.

Consumers who are still edgy about radiation and cesium in their food and drink should note that the product Kenko.com is most determined to unload is Crystal Geyser, which is bottled in California. Right now you can get a case of 48 500-ml bottles for ¥1,290, which works out to about ¥27 per bottle. In fact, the whole Crystal Geyser line is cheap, maybe even cheaper than tap water. But there are other foreign water brands available: Contrex is ¥1,555 for a case of 24 500-ml bottles; 12 1.5-liter bottles of Volvic goes for ¥1,675. Even better is that, for the time being at least, there are no delivery fees for any bottled water products.

Jeans on the cheap

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

If you need jeans at 4 in the morning you know where to go

If you need jeans at 4 in the morning you know where to go

As apparel goes, jeans fill a unique niche. Originally marketed strictly as work clothing whose main sales point was durability, ever since the ’60s denim trousers have become ubiquitous, first as the uniform of the counter-culture, then as a template onto which various high-rent designers projected their hip cachet, and finally as pretty much the world’s de facto leisure wear. Levis, the original jean manufacturer, can charge anything it wants and in such a way became the standard for pricing. Anything more expensive than a pair of basic 501s was considered ostentatious; anything cheaper was, well, cheap.

Last March, discount clothier Uniqlo broke the thousand-yen barrier at its even cheaper retail subsidiary g.u. (or jiyu, which means “freedom”) by putting on sale jeans that cost ¥990. Since then, other cheapo retailers have followed suit and last week the discount chain Don Quijote announced that it would be selling its own “private brand” (PB) of jeans called Jonetsu Kagaku (passionate price) for only ¥690 per pair.

Continue reading about cheap jeans →

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