Realignment Talks Accelerating in Japan Drug Store Industry

Economy

Tokyo, June 4 (Jiji Press)--Major Japanese drug store operators are accelerating negotiations on business integration and capital alliance that would lead to an industry shakeup, hoping to survive intensifying competition also involving supermarkets and other players outside the industry.

Cocokara Fine Inc. <3098>, the seventh-largest drug store operator in Japan, said Saturday that it has agreed with sixth-ranking Sugi Holdings Co. <7649> to start business integration talks.

Cocokara will also continue its ongoing capital and business alliance talks with fifth-largest Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co. <3088>, in a bid to bolster its earnings by expanding its business scale.

Either combination would create the largest drug store group, outstripping the current industry leader, Welcia Holdings Co. <3141>, in terms of both sales and the number of outlets.

In the business year to February, Welcia posted group sales of 779.1 billion yen, and Sugi 488.4 billion yen, with the number of stores standing at 1,878 at Welcia and 1,190 at Sugi at the end of the month.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press