Marui Group of Japan

By David Hoyt, Seungjin Whang
2007 | Case No. GS55
In 2007, the Marui Group was one of Japan’s leading department store companies. The company had 29 stores, most in Tokyo and vicinity. Marui was particularly popular with young women, who formed its largest customer segment.
The case focuses on Marui’s supply chain, which was far more vertically integrated than most Japanese department stores. Marui was a pioneer in developing private brand apparel, and had developed a supply chain that enabled it to efficiently gather and utilize information from the sales floor to modify product designs to better meet consumer tastes. The company’s use of detailed product tracking and attribute analysis is described. The case also describes the different order fulfillment processes used for private brand and national brand apparel.
The case raises questions of how Marui can address a number of challenges, including: a shrinking Japanese population, declining same-store sales, declining numbers of credit card holders, and saturation of the target market of young females.
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