Summit, a supermarket continually evolving in line with customer’s tastes and lifestyles
More than 50 years of “Sincere Work”
Summit, a Sumitomo Corporation Group's supermarket, has 118 stores (as of March 31, 2021) in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, and has been committed to community-based service since its first store opened in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward in 1963. It has grown to become one of the leading supermarkets in the Tokyo metropolitan area, with FY2020 consolidated sales exceeding 300 billion yen for the first time in its history.
Summit has vowed to work with all people surrounding the company with sincerity, a management philosophy based on Sumitomo’s business philosophy of not pursuing easy gains while placing prime importance on integrity. In accordance with this philosophy, Summit endeavors to ensure safety and security for the food that people eat, thus enriching their lives and helping them attain their dreams.
Creative approaches to product and store development
One characteristic of Summit is its thoroughly rationalized store management. The key tool for this purpose is the Labor Scheduling Program (L.S.P.), introduced to promote efficient store operations. Also, since 2011, Summit has also been using the idea of "New Merchandising" ("New MD") in its store layouts, adapting designs, product selections, provision methods, and services to the changes in the lifestyles and needs of its customers to provide them what they want ahead of any other chains. This approach has been continually updated to keep up with the times, and New MD has thus far evolved as fourth phases.
Summit has established a system for quickly meeting the needs of local customers, by providing various goods and services not available at the stores of other retail chains. For instance, many stores have created eat-in spaces where customers can eat items purchased in the store, and these areas serve as community spaces where customers living in the neighborhood can relax. We also focus on sections providing ready-to-eat cooked foods, which are a priority for Summit. At these stores, fresh and delicious foods are cooked in a kitchen just beside the shopping area, using the vegetables, fish and meat that are on sale, and then served directly to customers at the grilled kitchen section, boiled and grilled fish section (“sozai” section), and the bakery. In the bakery section, pizza is baked in a special pizza oven, while bread is baked using dough kneaded from the flour. Like the “sozai” grilled dish section, the bakery area is open to shoppers so they can see the food being baked and appreciate the freshness of the bread. Given the rise in the number of single-person households, vegetables are offered loose, in small packages, and in precut form.
Meanwhile, shoppers are able to taste various food items and seasonings in another special area. Furthermore, a shopping concierge is posted at Summit stores to assist customers.
Summit develops a diverse range of store formats. Our recent focus is on establishing small stores in central Tokyo, represented by the Nabeya-yokocho store and KANDA SQUARE store opened in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Also, we are adopting advanced technology for an array of operation systems, such as those for electronic shelf label* and complete self-checkout, which have been introduced in some stores. DX initiatives are being implemented for various purposes, including offering new shopping experiences and helping solve social issues, such as food loss, by ensuring appropriate order placement.
*Electronic shelf label: Price tags on store shelves digitized from traditional paper
Make supermarkets in Japan enjoyable
"To Make supermarkets in Japan enjoyable" is Summit's business vision from FY2017. The aim is to remain a popular supermarket supported by customers by changing product lineups, presentation methods, and store designs as needed to keep up with changes in people's tastes and lifestyles as well as the competitive environment.
A key idea is making maximum use of the advantages that come with being a member of the Sumitomo Corporation Group. The functions and established track record of our Real Estate Division can be leveraged to further improve property development, and collaboration in food procurement can be pursued with the Food & Agriculture Business Division. Tapping into the characteristics unique to the Sumitomo Corporation Group, which encompasses numerous Group companies that directly interact with consumers, Summit will continue growing alongside its fellow Group members.
Summit established Kawasaki Shiohama Process Center in December 2018 in collaboration with SC Foods Co., Ltd. This food processing facility is aimed at strengthening Summit stores’ meat and “sozai” dish sections and improving their services by streamlining store operations in meat section, in anticipation of difficulties in recruiting staff at Summit stores due to labor shortages in the future.
This Center makes it possible to change the current allocation of space at Summit stores, between the space for shopping and the space for a kitchen, with the aim of designing competitive stores, especially small stores.
In addition, Summit has embarked on a new project to go beyond the conventional concept of supermarket. Specifically, the chain has recently opened a health community section Kenkomi within the Hatogaya Ekimae Store, in collaboration with Tomod’s Inc. (Sumitomo Corporation Group company), KOKUBU GROUP CORP., and Sumitomo Corporation. Kenkomi, started on a trial basis, is equipped with a range of health measurement devices and national registered nutritionists to give dietary advice based on measurement results, thus aiming to provide an open, easily accessible community space themed on food and health.
“GO GREEN” Challenge Initiative toward achieving SDGs
In July 2021, Summit set “GO GREEN” Challenge Initiative, which outlines the focus for social issues to contribute to the sustainable development of society.
Summit aims to address not only the global environment, but also local communities and customers, social contribution, and providing an employee-friendly, rewarding workplace.
Specifically, as an environmental initiative, Summit’s Gotanno Store has introduced the indoor vegetable growing system produced by InFarm―Indoor Urban Farming, a German agriventure, to provide environmentally friendly, in-store “farm fresh” vegetables. Other activities include buying vegetables that are of acceptable quality but misshapen and thus hard to sell individually, in bulk from some producers, in order to use in making ”sozai” dishes etc., thereby tackling the food loss problem.
- Living Related ＆ Real Estate Business
- Retail Service Operations