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San-A supermarket chain looks at record profits

Date Posted: 2002-10-18

Management was all smiles at Okinawas largest supermarket chain San-A as it published its midterm profit-loss statement. According to San-A president Tetsusei Uechi, the total sales of the group were 1.9 percent up at 486.7 billion. Its operation profits rose 5.5 percent to 3.1 billion, and the midterm profits before taxes up a whopping 18 percent.

In a business environment where increased competition is squeezing other companies profits, San-As rise to the top is remarkable. It is at the moment the only large supermarket chain in the prefecture that has reported a rise in profits. The company was listed in Osaka Stock Exchange only four years ago, and demand for its shares s reportedly high.

The company has risen to its position from humble beginnings 20 years ago when it was a very small operator with only a few shops and a reputation of being somewhat out of touch. All that has changed over the past few years with the company paying close attention to the designs of their apparel. Their food sections offer only the freshest of produce that has earned the chain a solid reputation among housewives.

San-A President Uechi says that the main reason for making a profit is a close attention to wholesale prices. We pay a lot of attention to the cost we pay and quality when we buy goods to our stores. Another pillar is the freshness of food products we offer, Uechi says.

Another advantage that has followed the success is that young people are now competing hard to get a job at San-A. That ensures that the company can pick and choose the best who in the past would not have considered a job in Okinawa, but would have preferred to emigrate to the mainland to seek work in large corporations there.

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