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Summit, a supermarket continually evolving in line with customer’s tastes and lifestyles

japan

More than 50 years of “Sincere Work”

Summit, a Sumitomo Corporation Group's supermarket, has 114 stores 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 FY2017 consolidated sales of 280 billion yen.

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.

Kitchen area for “sozai” grilled dishes made open to shoppers to enable them to watch the cooking in progress (Photo taken at Summit’s Hon-amanuma store)

Creative approaches to product and store development

One characteristic of Summit is its thoroughly rationalized store management. Unreasonableness, waste and inconsistency of work have been systematically eliminated by introducing the Labor Scheduling Program (LSP) for work management, measuring the standard workload and work time values for all store tasks, and preparing task assignment sheets in line with these standards.

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. This approach has been continually updated to keep up with the times, and New MD has thus far evolved as fourth phases.

Sections for “ready-to-eat” cooked foods (Photo taken at Summit’s Mita store)

In 2018, Summit opened two small stores suitable for urban areas, Hon-amanuma store and Mita store, which 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. Meanwhile, in another special area shoppers are able to taste various food items and seasonings. Furthermore, a shopping concierge is posted at Summit stores to assist customers. By providing various goods and services not available at the stores of other retail chains, Summit has established a system for quickly meeting the needs of local customers.

Fish are prepared through the conversation with customers in the fresh fish section (Photo taken at Summit’s Oji Sakurada Dori store)

Given the rise in the number of single-person households, vegetables are offered loose, in small packages, and in precut form. Some producers discard vegetables that are of acceptable quality but misshapen and thus hard to sell individually, but Summit buys up such vegetables in bulk from certain producers for use in making delicatessen dishes. At a time when food shortages around the world are such a problem, consuming misshapen vegetables constitutes an eco-friendly effort that reduces food waste.

Many stores have also 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.

A "Try a Bite" corner bringing together up to six types of food products each day for customers to try, and offering cooking and arrangement suggestions (Photo taken at Summit’s Mita store)

Make supermarket shopping in Japan enjoyable

"To Make supermarket shopping in Japan enjoyable" is Summit's business vision as of 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.

Sales staff handles bar-code reading, leaving shoppers to pay using an automated payment machine. This system has been introduced at all Summit stores. (Photo taken at Summit’s Mita store)

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.

Exterior appearance of Kawasaki Shiohama Process Center. It promotes the efficient procurement of foods and ingredients by buying them from SC Foods, which is located in the same building.

April 2019

Keyword

  • Living Related & Real Estate Business
  • Japan
  • Retail Service Operations

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