Daiso: Billionaire founder of Japanese discount store dies

The billionaire owner of the so-called 100 yen store passed away at the age of 80, the firm says.
Daiso: Billionaire founder of Japanese discount store dies
Daiso's flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan.Getty Images

Hirotake Yano, the billionaire founder of Japanese discount retailer Daiso, has died of heart failure, aged 80.

In a statement released on Monday, the firm said he passed away on 12 February and a private funeral had already been held by close family members.

Daiso is a so-called 100 yen ($0.67; £0.53) store, similar to pound shops.

Mr Yano opened his first discount retailer in 1972 and was seen as a pioneer of the dollar shop business model.

“It’s with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Founder and Former President of Daiso Industries Company Limited, Mr Hirotake Yano, last Monday,” Daiso said on its website.

A commemoration gathering will be held in the near future, the release added.

After graduating from Tokyo’s Chuo University in 1967, Mr Yano had several different jobs, including running his father-in-law’s fishery until it went bankrupt.

In 1972, at the age of 29, he set up his first business, a street vending shop called Yano Shoten, or Yano Store.

Five years later, he changed the name of the company to Daiso, which translates to “create something big”. It became famous for all of its items costing 100 yen each.

Mr Yano said that he and his wife Katsuyo found that having to price products differently was too time-consuming so they decided to charge 100 yen for every item.

Daiso became successful as the Japanese economy stagnated in the 1990s and customers became more price conscious.

The business model that Mr Yano pioneered is now popular worldwide.

As of the end of 2023, Daiso had 4,360 stores in its home country and almost 1,000 shops around the world, with stores across Asia as well in North America and the Middle East.

Like the discount stores Mr Yano inspired, Daiso has had to adapt its approach to pricing and now sells goods at multiples of 100 yen.

It has more than 70,000 different items in stock, and says that it develops over 1,000 new products a month.

The company calls itself “Japan’s No.1 living ware supplier”.

Mr Yano had a net worth of $1.9bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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