There are two purposes of this special issue. The first is to introduce the current state of local commerce and new activities, to define the associated problems, and to provide opportunities to think about solutions. We hope that this special issue will inform readers on both the positive and negative aspects of current regional commerce and will promote thoughts and ideas on commerce and town development. The second is promotion of academic research. Rather than focus only on new phenomena, there is an opportunity for researchers to think about the underlying mechanisms and problems. Through this process, we hope to see further progress in regional commercial research.
The regional contributions of retailers are gaining a lot of attention, and this is by no means an “unnecessary task unrelated to the original work” of the retailer. Rather, it is a legitimate assessment of externality that the store-type retailer originally had. Consideration of externalities and the main retail business, which has been both sides of the same coin, have been separated with development of chain store operations. External regulation, including that by the local government, was a step toward a new norm for retailers. Chain-type retailers are also working on a number of community contribution activities, but it is important to tackle “town development” together with local retailers, and not with companies alone.
In British urban policy, sustainability has been viewed as the basic idea since the latter half of the 1990s, in addition to maintaining diversity. Based on these perspectives, various developments, including large-scale shopping centers, have been regulated by a planning system centered on development permission. The concept of a sequential approach based on the premise of the “vitality and survival” of the Town Center or Town Center First is inherent in this policy. On the other hand, in terms of urban revitalization, large-scale redevelopment, including retail, service, entertainment, and housing in the town center and renewal of neighboring town blocks in the inner city have been carried out simultaneously. In this paper, we examine the above circumstances from the three dimensions of thought, policy and practice. In addition, we explore suggestions of relevance to Japan from the three viewpoints of regulation of suburban development by urban planning, a compact city as a future vision, and diversity and homogenization in the town center and high street.
This study examines the commerce and distribution between production and consumption, with a particular focus on medium- and small-scale wholesalers and retailers in the regional market. We suggest that wholesalers support declining regional retailers, develop, and activate regional commerce and distribution as a whole through a voluntary chain. Given the recent transition of both wholesaling and retailing sales, the condition that commerce and distribution fundamentally link production and consumption differs from the normal situation. While large-scale retailers and wholesalers aimed at the national market have reduced their number of establishments and sales, small-scale retailers and medium-scale wholesalers have tended to increase their establishments and sales. As a middleman in distribution, small-scale retailers and medium-scale wholesalers mainly have linkage relationships with each other and overall have an increasing trend in the declining commerce and distribution. Cosmos Berry’s activities are a typical case study that explains the role of Voluntary Chain Headquarter’s support to small-scale retailers in the regional market. In terms of activating distribution flow, Cosmos Berry’s has advantages of bundling, hub & spoke, and types of operation through different kinds of business, and these lead to Cosmos Berry’s activating the distribution flow optimally.
Raising the “experience value” of customers has become an important issue in the retail industry, with the goal of producing a “special feeling” for each store. Individual correspondence to customers is likely to be advantageous to independent retailers. However, individual skills communication in the sales phase is insufficient. For retailers, differentiation of assortment is an issue due to the activities of purchasing involved in the production phase. However, it is not clear how differentiation of assortment can be achieved for small-sized retailers with limited resources. Therefore, there is a need to enter and analyze retailers’ sorting activities in specific industries. In this paper, we examined the conditions of management for the case of “Ueki shoten”, a vegetable and fruit retailing business. In this study of the activities of the retailer, our analysis of skill and selection of merchandising focused only on purchase and sales. In this case, we found that active intervention in the production and consumption phases led to creation of new demand.
This paper examines the business model of work-life balance businesses, using examples in a declining commercial area in Mitsu district, Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture. In this district, the number of work-life balance businesses has increased in recent years. These business (1) offer high-involvement goods and services, and do not pursue low interest selling; (2) prefer to renovate store interiors through self-building; (3) prefer that the store/shop and residence are in the same building to emphasize work-life balance; (4) set holidays flexibly; and (5) do not want to expand their business scale. In this district, work-life balance businesses have succeeded in lowering the break-even point due to factors such as falling rent prices, self-built interior decoration, and provision of high value-added products. Also, because of the declining population and aging of residents in the district, the purchasing power of the residents is declining, so the store/shop management cannot be done simply as a business that depends only on local residents. By offering high-value-added products, the businesses can attract highly involved consumers from a wide area outside the district. This business model may be particularly effective for profitability in a declining commercial area, while synergistically the declining commercial area has the potential to attract such work-life balance businesses.
Export channel choice is one of the most important topics in international marketing and international distribution channels. To date, most previous studies have assumed that firms choose a specific type of export channel, but many firms in the real world choose multiple types of export channels. Thus, recent academic research has often called for more studies on this multiple channel strategy in international markets; i.e., multiple export channels. However, no review articles on multiple export channels have been published as yet. Given the increasing need for research on multiple export channels, it is a critical attempt to organize previous research findings and identify remaining problems. This paper reviews research on the antecedents of multiple export channel choice and on the impact of multiple export channels on performance outcomes. Based on this review, the current paper suggests that future studies are required to (1) expand existing research streams and (2) develop new research streams.
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of package changes for product redesign on purchase by consumers. To measure the effects of different types of package changes and product redesign, we used single-source data of some tea-based beverages for which packages were changed in product redesign. The data include purchase data before and after the packages were changed. Using these data, package changes and product redesign were classified into three types, and the effect of each on consumer purchase of the redesigned product was measured. The three types are as follows: redesign of the label along with a new blend; redesign of the label and bottle shape along with a new blend; and redesign of the label and bottle shape with an increased volume. The results showed that a package change affected consumer purchase, and that the influence of package changes differed depending on which design elements were changed. Consumers purchased the redesigned products more when the label was redesigned along with a new blend, compared to when there was no redesign. However, they purchased the product less when the label and bottle shape were changed along with a new blend and increased volume, compared to when there was no change. In addition, the lifestyle of consumers affects redesigned product purchase, and the effects of label and shape redesign with a new blend and increased volume are different. Therefore, the effects of package changes differs among types of redesign.
This paper deals with the history of the legendary zakka shop, Bunkaya-Zakkaten, which operated in Shibuya and Harajuku in Tokyo from 1974 to 2015. The Japanese term zakka, which literally means “uncategorizable things,” is an elusive word that refers to a broad range of miscellaneous goods. Zakka shops can now be found across the country, but the boundaries of zakka as a category of goods remain difficult to define. This distinctive concept was created by Yoshitaro Hasegawa, the owner of Bunkaya-Zakkaten. By disseminating the concept through selling zakka at his shop, he has had an enormous impact on consumers, as well as on creators such as fashion designers and magazine editors, for many years. Based on his oral history, we see how he has devoted his life to Bunkaya-Zakkaten.