One of the big recent successes of Japanese retailing has been Book Off. The company started during the recession years of the 1990s selling second hand books and CDs, and has now expanded into used furniture and interior goods at its B Life stores. B Kids and B Sports recycle children's wear and sports goods.
The company claims that over 200 million books are circulated annually through its over 1,000 stores (many of them franchises). Book Off has also gone international with outlets in South Korea (Seoul), France (Paris), Canada (Vancouver) and a number of outlets in the USA (New York, Hawaii, LA, San Diego).
Books are purchased at a tenth of the new price and sold at half of the new book price. After a certain amount of time if the book remains unsold it is moved to the 100 yen shelf.
The Shirokanedai branch of Book Off (Tel: 03 5475 5696) has over 40,000 foreign-language books starting from 200 yen. The mega-store, which is open from 10am-8pm, also incorporates a bakery and cafe. Take Exit 2 from Shirokanedai Station on the Nanboku or Mita Line of the Tokyo subway.
Founded in 1990 by Hiroshi Sato, Book Off has over 7,000 employees, the vast majority of them part-time workers. The company has its HQ in Kanagawa Prefecture.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010