The Japanese home improvement chain Cainz recorded significant growth during pandemic year 2020. In an interview on the Global DIY Network of international industry associations Edra/Ghin and Hima, owner and board chairman Hiromasa Tsuchiya said that sales had increased by 18 per cent. Cainz currently operates 125 stores in Japan with an annual turnover of around USD 4.5 bn. The concept of Japanese home improvement stores, with ranges catering to a broad spectrum of their customers' day-to-day requirements including household goods, drugstore articles, pet accessories and even food, could act as a model for retailers across Asia, Tsuchiya told Edra general secretary John Herbert. He also hinted at possible expansion by Cainz.
During the Covid-19 crisis, Cainz has also managed to engage the interest of younger customers in DIY and gardening, Tsuchiya reported. This was significant not least against the background of an ageing Japanese population. Cainz customers are over 50 years of age on average, and "in Japan, there was no DIY boom amongst baby boomers," added Tsuchiya, describing the societal environment.
In the Japanese DIY market, the top 10 companies account for a share of 64.5 per cent and sales of USD 23.5 bn; the top 5 alone claim 46 per cent of the market.
Cainz had already started investing substantially in its IT infrastructure and digital transformation even before the onset of the pandemic; in three years, the company has put around USD 100 mio into digitalisation. More than 1 000 employees now work in the Cainz Innovation Hub. E-commerce still only accounts for a modest share of sales, but is growing considerably. This is due among other initiatives to new click & collect solutions, with collection points inside and outside stores. In this regard the Cainz boss referred more than once to the exchange of information and ideas taking place within Edra/Ghin, which he joined in 2015. "I made many friends by joining this association," he said.
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