Japan's Answer to Wal-Mart?

Giant Aeon's stores lag in profitability, so the CEO aims to cut out middlemen, lift quality, and win shoppers

Like many of Japan's large retailers, Aeon, the biggest of them all, is struggling to find profitability in its core businesses. Indeed, Nomura Securities estimates that Aeon's general merchandising stores (GMS) will contribute just 15% of group profits, despite accounting for 43% of the company's projected $40.1 billion in sales in the fiscal year that ended Feb. 20.

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