Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Discount Pioneer Dies

Isao Nakauchi, founder of Daiei Inc., died of stroke at 83.

As a boy, he became fascinated with retail business when he helped out his father's medical store in Kobe. He fought in the Philippines during World War II. Under fear of US attack and suffering hunger with only weeds to eat, he dreamed of eating Sukiyaki till he was full. This obsession led him to establish Daiei in Osaka, after he returned to Japan. He offered discounts, while all other stores sold at the fixed price, causing a revolution in the retail business. Daiei soon became the largest supermarket chain in Japan. However, Daiei was hit hard by the burst of the economic bubble, and Nakauchi resigned from presidency in 1999.
Nakauchi's philosophy was "Pay less for good products." "Mr. Nakauchi's DNA is still alives, in places like UNIQLO or 100 Yen shops," said writer Shinichi Sano.

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