The Japan Convenience Store Phenomenon

Written by Lorna Shapiro

It happens to every Japanese woman who comes and stays with us. They enter a Canadian 7/11 with a set of expectations… a spotless facility, well lit and well organized, filled with at least one kind of almost anything you might need for your daily living, fabulous take out food options, lattes, and staff who will bend over backwards to be helpful. Then the Canadian reality strikes them in their face and they quickly exit, shaking their heads at what they’ve just encountered… dirty floors, dozy staff, junk food… So we have a little discussion when they arrive home, resetting their expectations of convenience stores, and paying homage to the Japanese convenience store. When I travelled in Japan with Hiroko this last time, she insisted I take photos of the aisles of a Japanese 7/11 so that my customers would know what a convenience store can be… and here are those photos…

So when you travel to Japan, please don’t overlook the lowly convenience store, and know that 7 & I Holdings, the Japanese corporation that is 7/11 in Japan, is the largest retail and distribution corporation in Japan.  Who knew????!!!!