100-yen shops (100円ショップ hyaku-en shoppu) are common Japanese shops in the vein of American dollar stores. Stocking a variety of items from clothing to stationery, housewares to food, each item is priced at precisely 100 yen. Some examples are Daiso, Seria and Cando. A recent variation of the 100-yen shops are 99-yen shops. Daiei also operates 88-yen stores. Some shops, such as SHOP99, specialize in certain items, such as groceries or natural goods, but this is less common than the variety store model. The current Japanese sales tax of 8% is also added, making a 100-yen purchase actually cost 108 yen.
One supporter of 100-yen shops is Hirotake Yano, the founder of Daiso Industries Co. Ltd., which runs "The Daiso" chain. The first store opened in 1991, and there are now around 1,300 stores throughout Japan. This number is increasing by around 40 stores per month. One of the largest 100-yen Shops is the Daiso in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. It spans four stories and over 10,500 square feet (980 m2). Larger still is the five story Daiso Giga Machida in front of Machida Station, Tokyo.
Similar shops have opened around other parts of Asia as well, some of them operated by Japanese companies such as Daiso. In Hong Kong, department stores have opened their own 10-dollar-shops (JPY140) to compete in the market, and thus there are now "8-dollar-shops" (JPY110) in Hong Kong, in order to compete with lower prices.
100-yen shops are able to keep prices down by purchasing goods internationally and in bulk. These goods come from countries with lower production costs, such that 100-yen shops may retail them for far less than the merchandise is worth.
- "100 Yen Shop",japan-guide.com, July 29th, 2009