Bloomberg Businessweek

Japan’s Furniture King Caters to the Plebes

Nitori quality-control workers in Tokyo put some chairs through their paces

Jason Clenfield, Masatsugu Horie, and Grace Huang

• Nitori’s low-price strategy let it survive the stagnant economy

• “People want it to be inexpensive, but it can’t be cheap”

Akio Nitori had his aha! moment during a 1972 trip to California. As a young merchant operating a handful of stores in Japan, Nitori spent a week touring Sears department stores and Levitz Furniture outlets. He marveled

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