Bike Sales Skyrocketing in Japan after Earthquake
Japans leading bicycle retailer, Asahi Co. a stock-listed retail giant with nationwide about 200 outlets reports that its bicycle sales has doubled since March 11; the day the worst ever earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast of Japan. In particular in the Kanto region
TOKYO, Japan – Japan’s leading bicycle retailer, Asahi Co. – a stock-listed retail giant with nationwide about 200 outlets – reports that its bicycle sales has doubled since March 11; the day the worst ever earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast of Japan.
In particular in the Kanto region (which includes Tokyo and home of about a third of Japan’s 128 million population) sales are skyrocketing.
“Normally we would be really happy if in ordinary circumstances, sales grew by this much, but this time my feelings are mixed. I do feel a responsibility to keep supply up for the demand”, Bloomberg quotes Asahi president Susumu Shimoda in a note on rising sales “as commuters haunted by quakes seek alternatives for their daily transport”.
All in all the Osaka-based retail giant forecasts a 15% sales increase to JPY 32.9 billion (about 280 million euro) in the current fiscal year 2011/2012 (ending 20th February). “While growth will slow, sales will keep increasing as oil prices rise”, says Shimoda. Akinori Sato, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co., agrees when saying to Bloomberg: “In addition to the disorder in the public transportation system, rising gasoline prices are also boosting the demand for bicycles.”
Giant-Japan, a wholly-owned unit of Taiwan’s leading bicycle producer Giant, reports about a March bicycle sales rise of 23%. Still, the impact on Giant will be probably “short term”. Last year Giant-Japan sold a total of 90,000 bikes and expects a 10% growth for this year.
The increased interest in bicycles helps also other companies such as for example bicycle component maker Shimano. After losing – compared with the previous year – 1.5 % in the year through 10th March; sales are up 3.7% since the quake. “If Asahi are saying that their sales are increasing, then we should be able to expect an increase in orders for us as well”, Bloomberg quotes Shimano’s Head of Accounting Yoshihiro Hirata, “We have seen orders increase after the disaster.” Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co. gives Shimano an ‘outperform’ rating.