AFX News Limited
Japanese retailer Daiei's founder dies
09.19.2005, 07:24 AM

TOKYO (AFX) - Isao Nakauchi, the founder of supermarket chain Daiei who helped transform Japan's retail landscape, has died of a stroke in hospital at the age of 83, the company announced.

Nakauchi, a native of Osaka city, won fame as a pioneer of discount retailing, turning Daiei into the country's biggest retailer in terms of sales in 1972 from the single drug store he opened in 1957 in Osaka.

In 1980, Daiei became the first Japanese retailers to achieve annual sales in excess of 1 trln yen, or about 9 bln usd at current exchange rates, though it has since lost the top ranking.

Nakauchi had been undergoing medical treatment in a hospital in the western Japanese city of Kobe since late August, according to Japanese news reports.

Nakauchi 'kept challenging to achieve 'a revolution in distribution' with his philosophy of realizing a society where consumers can buy what they want at prices they can afford,' Daiei said in a statement.

His style of centralized purchasing and mass selling at cheap prices was a hit in Japan but Daiei's financial standing rapidly deteriorated after the collapse of the so-called 'bubble economy' in the late 1980s.

Daiei is now being rehabilitated under the state-backed Industrial Revitalization Corp of Japan, concentrating on its supermarket business while backing off from the Nakauchi-era strategy of discounting and nationwide outlet networks.

In 2004, Nakauchi sold all his shareholdings in Daiei group companies.


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