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Daiso or The Daisō (ザ・ダイソー) is the largest franchise of 100-yen shops in Japan owned by Daiso Sangyo Corp. (株式会社大創産業 kabushiki gaisha daisō sangyō , headquarters: Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture). Daiso has a range of over 100,000 goods, of which over 40 percent are imported goods, many of them from China. Many of these are own-brand goods.
Daiso sets itself apart from other 100 yen shops by choosing not to sell closeout or factory second merchandise. Instead, they keep prices low by purchasing directly from manufacturers in very high volume, a strategy often compared to that of Walmart.
Daiso often uses such locations as previous pachinko parlours for its retail outlets. They spend a lot of money on shelving and fixtures to help the stores compete with more high-end retailers. The stock of items retailed at each shop is varied frequently in order to increase repeat customers.
Daiso categorizes all its own-brand items on sale using the morpheme za (ザ), the Japanese representation of the English word "the", plus a category. For example, za hanabi (ザ・花火) is the category for fireworks, and za purasuchikku (ザ・プラスチック) is the category for plastic items such as plastic buckets or trays.
In 2004, Daiso also started selling items priced at multiples of 100 yen, such as 200, 300, 400 or 500 yen.
Daiso has 2,500 stores in Japan, and 522 stores overseas, in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Canada, U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Russia, Romania, Australia, Brazil, United States of America and Mexico.
In December 2003, Daiso opened a 2,400 square metre (26,430 square feet) store in Aberdeen Centre, in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Most items sold in the store (Daiso products plus a small selection of Japanese foods and beverages) are CAD$2 each. "This store is to be our springboard to launch Daiso's operations across North America," said Roy Fujita, director of the company's international division.
On October 2, 2005, the first store in the US opened for business in Alderwood Mall located in Lynnwood, Washington near Seattle, WA. This store is much smaller at only 442 square meters (Approx. 4,750 square feet), and items were originally one of three prices, $1, $1.50, & $2 (all USD). The current inventory now includes packaged food and items are now priced up to $8, though most items are at the $1.50 price point. Daiso officials have said they plan to open as many as twenty stores or more in the United States.
There are fifteen stores in the United States: five are in Washington, and ten in California. The largest Daiso to open in the United States is located in Union City, California. The 17,760 square foot (1,650 square meters) store opened on August 8, 2007. A total of 15 to 20 locations are planned for the entire San Francisco Bay Area in the future. Daiso has also opened stores in several other SF Bay Area cities: Daly City, Berkeley, Cupertino, Milpitas, Newark, San Jose, Mountain View, and San Francisco's Japantown and downtown. Daiso opened its first Southern California store in Monterey Park. In Gardena, Marukai Corporation U.S.A. carries Daiso products at bargain prices. There are also five locations in the Greater Seattle Area, including the original Alderwood Mall store, Westfield Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, The Commons at Federal Way, Westlake Center and Chinatown in downtown Seattle.
Singapore has ten Daiso stores in Singapore. The stores are located in following malls: Vivocity, IMM Mall, Plaza Singapura, ION Orchard, Tampines 1, Rivervale Mall, Bukit Panjang Plaza, Sembawang Shopping Centre, Chinatown Point and City Square Mall (latest opened on 19 February 2013). All products are priced at 2 S$ (Singaporean Dollars).
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