chapter  13
15 Pages

American influences and Japanese innovation in the distribution industry

Changes of supermarket system from the 1950s until the 1970s
ByMika Takaoka, Takeo Kikkawa

Japan’s post World War II distribution system has recently become a focus of international scholarly attention. The issues concerning the Japanese distribution system can be divided broadly into two categories: those related to the distribution structure, and those pertaining to trade practices. A number of researchers, both Japanese and non-Japanese, have explored the determining factors behind the Japanese distribution structure, in which small-sized stores take up an excessively large share in the total number of retail stores, if not in the total size of the retail business, while wholesaling activities go through multiple stages.1 Many other scholars have researched into the historical and social backgrounds of Japanese trade practices – including the return of unsold goods, dispatched salespersons, payment of rebates, resale price maintenance, and non-price vertical restraints – and have suggested how these practices are rational for the parties concerned.2