Merger may create giant Japanese drugstore chain

Retailer Cocokara Fine may be acquired by its larger rival Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings to create the largest Japanese drugstore chain.

Should it proceed, the merger would create a discount-pharmacy chain taking an annual ¥1 trillion (US$9.4 billion) in revenues, significantly higher than current market leader Welcia Holdings.

Matsumotokiyoshi’s heavily discounted snacks, soft drinks and liquor have made it a tough competitor against other conventional retailers in the segment.

Cocokara has reportedly discontinued merger talks with another rival – Sugi Holdings, which owns the Sugi Pharmacy chain – in favour of achieving a deal with Matsumotokiyoshi.  

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