Building a Robust Industry

I have received a lot of support for my three recommendations --- the super-quality declaration, the two-way theater declaration, and the pure audio renaissance --- and I intend to forcefully promote them for market vitalization and the healthy development of the industry.

In addition, in order for everyone in the business to build a robust industry, and in order for our industry to develop in a lively, cheerful, and forceful manner, I think that now is the time when we must make the utmost efforts.

In the field of retail, the trend toward large-scale retail is not running out of steam, but on the other hand the battle among large retailers, precisely because they are so large, is turning into a war of attrition. Who knows what the picture will look like in three years’ time? The situation is very unpredictable. The same is true for makers as well. In the end, the only survivors in both manufacturing and sales will most probably be those who have a firm understanding of the customer and place that as their basic principle.

The role of large retailers is important as a role, and it can be said that they have grown in size for that very reason. However, they place far too much emphasis on their strength as a weapon and have strayed from the sense of reliability and assurance in the maker痴 brand that the customer hopes for. If they only consider makers as a subcontracting existence, their response is going to become mediocre, and they will enter a phase of mutually profitless business. Even the winners now will end up tasting the bitterness of defeat because they are so large. In the immediate future, however, if the must-win strategy is going to gain momentum, and the result will be a war of attrition.

In the end, the only companies that survive will be those that place real importance on the customer and have a policy of recognizing the various makers for what they are --- makers. The truth is that all three sides the maker, the retailer, and the customer have to be satisfied. From now on, just being large is not going to be enough. It can be said that we are entering an age of balance between the role of large retailers and the role of specialty stores. In the realization of my three recommendations, it will not be possible, for example, for a single large retailer to be victorious.

The environment in which the population of over-60s is going to further increase can be said to suggest an age of the specialty store. People often talk about the plant business method and the animal business method. In a sense, we have entered a period in which large retailers survive by the large-scale plant method and specialty stores survive by the small-scale animal method. Plants are placed in the soil and wait for customers to come to them; animals go out to where the catch is and hold business talks with the customer.

Naturally both of these methods have ways of attracting customers. But in a shopping mall, for example, if the mall is weak in attracting customers, there is a danger that the store is going to wither along with the mall. And in the case of large-scale suburban stores, they are not necessarily good places for people who cannot move around by car. We are entering an age, therefore, in which the spotlight is going to fall more and more on specialty stores that take care of the various needs of customers and in which products similarly will survive by taking the customer into account.

I sincerely hope that, through the realization of my three recommendations, we can promote a profitable business and the healthy development of the industry.