Noted: According an interesting piece by McKinsey on the new Japanese consumer, big-box discounters outside Tokyo and retailers such as Costco and Ikea are benefitting significantly from a March 2009 decision by the Japanese government to reduce the maximum freeway toll on weekends to ¥1,000 (about $11) regardless of the distance traveled. More people than ever are now taking advantage of the lower prices of these stores outside their local living in part because a restriction has been lifted. It’s not the only reason they are shopping there – the recession is more important – but the stores probably may never have anticipated the effect on them.
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