050311-carrefour-t.doc - Carrefour quits Japan BNE The world’s second largest retailer French-owned Carrefour SA has announced its withdrawal from the

050311-carrefour-t.doc - Carrefour quits Japan BNE The...

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Carrefour quits Japan BNE: The world’s second largest retailer, French-owned Carrefour SA, has announced its withdrawal from the Japanese market. It has sold its shares to Japan’s largest retail group, the supermarket chain operator Aeon Co, which retains full rights to the Carrefour brand in Japan. Carrefour entered Japan four years ago, hoping to entice Japanese consumers, famous for their love of quality, to their stores by offering a more sophisticated image, and more international groceries than traditional Japanese supermarkets. However, it failed to overcome poor consumer spending and the Japanese recession. Supermarket sales fell by 3.5 per cent last year. The pullout follows earlier failures by European retail giants to crack the Japanese market. French cosmetics chain Sephora, part of the luxury group LVMH, and British drug store giant Boots both retreated from Japan soon after arriving, amid stiff competition from local operators. American retailers Wal-Mart and Costco are faring a little better and look to have their strategies right by selling in bulk at unbeatable prices. Although Japan’s consumers love international products such as Loius Vuitton, BMW, and even Starbucks coffee, they still prefer their home-grown foods. One Carrefour shopper at the Amagasaki, Hyogo outlet did express disappointment at the news of the takeover, saying, “I love Carrefour’s European feel. I hope the new owners will still sell all those lovely cheeses and wines, and play the French music.” WARM UPS 1. CHAT: Talk in pairs or groups about supermarkets / Japanese consumers / Walmart and Costco / French cosmetics / Louis Vuitton / cheese / wine / French music… To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class. 2. SUPERMARKET BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘supermarket’. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them. 3. SUPER SUPERMARKETS: Talk in groups about your favorite supermarket. Why is it your favorite? Together, decide on the three most important points a supermarket must have to make you shop there. Share these with other groups. Back in your original groups choose the three most necessary points from those you heard. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is best) how does your favorite supermarket score on the three points? 4. 2-MINUTE SUPERMARKET DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept: Supermarket music is boring. vs. It’s relaxing and helps us shop more easily.
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