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2013年4月23日 (火)

コンビニの隆盛 地域と共存目指す成長戦略を

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 23, 2013
Convenience stores should reach out to local communities
コンビニの隆盛 地域と共存目指す成長戦略を(4月22日付・読売社説)

Boosted by the positive effects of Abenomics, the package of economic policies under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, expectations are rising for an economic recovery.
 安倍政権が掲げる経済政策「アベノミクス」を追い風に、景気回復への期待が高まっている。

We hope the convenience store industry helps reinvigorate the economy in its own way by creating more demand.
 コンビニエンスストア業界も新たな消費を掘り起こし、日本経済の活性化につなげてもらいたい。

The three leading convenience store chain operators--Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Lawson, Inc. and FamilyMart Co.--posted record operating profits for the business year ending in February.
 セブン―イレブン・ジャパン、ローソン、ファミリーマートの大手3社は2013年2月期にそろって売上高を伸ばし、最高の営業利益をあげた。

Convenience stores debuted in Japan in 1974 with the opening of a store in central Tokyo. There are now about 50,000 throughout the country.
 1974年に都内に初登場したコンビニは現在、全国約5万店に達する。

Combined convenience store sales exceed 9 trillion yen, greatly surpassing the 6 trillion yen in sales logged by department stores. Convenience stores are visited by about 15 billion customers annually, which can be construed as saying that every Japanese shops at the stores more than 100 times a year.
業界全体の売上高は9兆円を超え、百貨店の6兆円を大きく上回る。年間来客数は約150億人で、日本人1人あたり年100回以上利用する計算だ。

Vanguard of retail industry

These figures show that convenience stores, now deeply rooted in our daily lives, are in the vanguard of the retail industry, while the operators of department stores and supermarkets have been suffering from sluggish sales over the long term.
 長期低迷が続く百貨店やスーパーを尻目に、生活に深く根付いたコンビニが小売業界を引っ張っていることを示す。

The secret of convenience stores' strength lies in their flexibility to expand operations by detecting changing consumption trends earlier than other retailers.
 その強さの秘訣(ひけつ)は、消費の移り変わりをいち早く察知し、事業を広げてきた柔軟さにある。

Their rapid growth is supported by a product mix and stock management that attaches great importance to hot-selling items, and by their just-in-time delivery system.
 「売れ筋」を重視した商品構成と在庫管理、少量多頻度の配送システムなどが急成長を支えた。

The product lineup, which used to center around onigiri rice balls and bento box meals, has expanded to include such items as fresh food, prepared dishes, freshly made coffee and pharmaceutical products, as they test the waters for new lines of business.
 おにぎりや弁当が中心だった品揃(ぞろ)えは、生鮮食品、総菜、いれたてコーヒー、医薬品などに広げ、他業種の分野に踏み込んでいる。

They also market low-priced private brand products one after another, attracting such people as housewives and senior citizens, who earlier shied away from visiting the stores.
低価格の自主開発商品を相次いで投入し、なじみの薄かった主婦や高齢者の利用も増えた。

The stores also have extended their lines of services beyond sales of merchandise to include the handling of utility bill payments, package delivery, ATM services and ticket sales.
 公共料金の納付、宅配便、ATM、チケット販売など物販以外のサービスも伸びている。

However, there is a view that the number of stores operating in Japan has reached the saturation point. Competition with department stores and supermarkets, which are trying to reinvigorate themselves, and Internet mail-order retailers will intensify, making the business environment for convenience store operators harsher.
 ただ、国内店舗数が飽和状態に達したとの見方は強い。巻き返しを狙う百貨店、スーパーやネット通販も含めた競争が激化し、経営環境は厳しさを増すだろう。

Convenience stores face a crucial period ahead.
 これからが正念場である。

In aggressively opening their outlets, convenience store chains have placed priority on opening stores in urban areas. Business operations in rural areas are likely to become a future challenge.
 積極的な出店は都市部が優先されがちだった。地方圏での事業展開が課題の一つではないか。

Many convenience stores are trying to demonstrate their uniqueness by selling products associated with a particular locality. But they will be tested over whether they can provide the goods and services consumers need, and run their businesses in harmony with local communities.
 ご当地メニューなどで独自色を打ち出している店は多いが、必要とされる商品やサービスをさらに見極めて提供し、地域と共存できるかどうかが問われよう。

Role during disasters

With smaller retail stores disappearing from neighborhoods, a large number of shoppers found themselves handicapped because they do not have the means to travel farther afield. Convenience store operators should contribute to local communities, rather than merely pursue their own profits.
 身近な商店が消え、遠出したくても交通手段のない「買い物弱者」は多い。採算一本やりではない地域貢献も求められる。

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, convenience stores assumed a major role in helping victims recover their daily lives in disaster-affected regions, proving to the general public just how truly convenient they are.
 東日本大震災では、被災地の生活復旧に大きな役割を果たし、コンビニの公共性が注目された。

Convenience store chains have made efforts to emphasize efficient and rational operations through prompt and flexible actions in opening temporary outlets and the use of sales vans.
 効率性と合理性を重視する姿勢が、仮設店舗や移動販売車などの素早い展開に生かせた。

It is essential for them to further improve their capabilities to function as a reliable means of social infrastructure at all times, such as by procuring goods and helping people unable to get home during disasters.
 災害時の物資調達や帰宅困難者支援など、いつでも頼れる社会のインフラとしての機能をさらに高めることが欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2013)
(2013年4月22日01時45分  読売新聞)

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