Global Cases

Tomod’s - Pioneer of the concept of drugstores with their own prescription department

Japan / Taiwan

Launched in 1993, in anticipation of future trends

We live in an age in which we, as individuals, take great responsibility for our own health. As such, drugstores with prescription departments have become more important in their role as local healthcare centers. Tomod's, the drugstore chain run by Sumisho Drugstores Inc. (to be renamed as "TOMOD'S" in April, 2014), is one of the leading chains of drugstores with a prescription department. With specialized expertise and excellent customer service, it has attracted a large and loyal customer base.

Tomod's was founded in 1993, when general pharmacies were either attached to large hospitals or were small, family-run affairs. Sumitomo Corporation established Tomod's based on its prediction that Western-style drugstores with their own prescription departments would also become mainstream in Japan. This was the company's strategy to pursue an opportunity identified in view of a growing public focus on the idea of separating dispensing and prescribing functions as a way of reducing medical costs.

Thus, in anticipation of future trends, the first Tomod's store was opened in Ikejiri-Ohashi in Tokyo's Meguro Ward. So ahead of its time was it that on its first day the store filled only one prescription. Since then, the Tomod's brand has expanded throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area and beyond, with the number of stores reaching 189 as of December 2019.

The name "Tomod's" is derived from the last two syllables of "Sumitomo"

Expansion of the number of stores while adhering to the corporate philosophy

Tomod's was one of the first "family drugstores" in Japan, meaning that customers could consult with highly specialized pharmacists and consolidate their prescriptions issued by different medical institutions. To pursue its pioneering advantage, the company proactively developed a chain store network.

This was not easy, however, particularly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, owing to the ubiquity of the drugstore―found anywhere, around stations or in residential areas. For the purpose of expanding the number of urban drugstores with their own prescription department, the company decided to utilize M&A to acquire favorable locations rapidly. In line with this plan, the company increased the number of stores and expanded its coverage area through a series of acquisitions of drugstore chains operating mainly in the metropolitan area―Medico in 2001, Koei in 2007 and Katsumata in 2010.

These expansionary initiatives were guided by the company's management philosophy: "As retail stores providing healthcare services, we depend on the trust of our customers. As family drugstores, we offer a wide range of products and are continually adapting to changing needs by taking advantage of our accumulated expertise in order to keep contributing to the health and prosperity of our customers." Thus, its M&A activities only target companies that share this philosophy, and in collaboration with its partners, Tomod's has strived to maintain its unique identity, refusing to compromise.

The most unique of its acquisitions is American Pharmacy, which joined Tomod's in 1997. The store was founded in 1950 to satisfy the needs of US expats living in Japan, and it retains the genuine American atmosphere and distinctive product lines that it had at the start. There are currently six American Pharmacy stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, one each at Marunouchi and Shibuya. Like Tomod's, each of the stores have attracted plenty of regular customers.

American Pharmacy has gained popularity with its distinctive product lines and American atmosphere

Launch of "Blue Tomod's"

The red logo of Tomod's has been well received by many customers, particularly young women. On the other hand, expansion of prescription departments and an increased number of large stores that opened in the suburbs and within office buildings have attracted increasing numbers of men and elderly customers. To meet a broader range of customer needs, a new type of Tomod's store was opened in 2012. The logo color of the new store was changed from red to relatively neutral midnight blue. The product lineup was also changed to include more foodstuffs and other products that satisfy various needs of customers. At the same time, store space was reorganized into multiple zones in a customer-friendly manner. Thanks to these efforts, the new Blue Tomod's stores have won a wider range of customers regardless of sex and age. Currently, the number of Blue Tomod's stores is growing as more are built and conventional Tomod's stores are revamped into the Blue variety.
Responding to changing social and market needs, we will expand the Tomod's name in a manner that is unique to Tomod's.

Tomod's store reborn in midnight blue

Start of new business and expansion into overseas markets

In October 2012, INCLOVER, a multi-brand cosmetics store was launched in LAZONA Kawasaki Plaza as a totally new style retail business. INCLOVER carries more than 30 high-end cosmetic brands from Japan and abroad, allowing customers to select and purchase various branded cosmetic items while leisurely browsing the spacious sales floors. We hope INCLOVER will become a place where customers can freely select and try high-end cosmetics.

Going forward, at Tomod’s, in addition to traditional drugstores with dispensing functions, we will also be actively developing dispensing pharmacies to build a platform that will help support our aging society and contribute to society.

In December 2012, Sumitomo Corporation and Mercuries & Associates, a leading company in Taiwan, established a joint company and opened a Tomod's store in Taipei, which was the first Tomod's store opened abroad.

Drawing on the expertise we developed in Japan as a retail distributor, we will operate the store based on Tomod's store concept --organized product displays in clean and bright stores --with the aim of winning support from local people in Taiwan.

INCLOVER, a multi-brand store for high-end cosmetics

April 2020


  • Japan
  • East Asia
  • Retail Service Operations

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