JAPAN: Mao in the Supermarket

What is a true bastion of iron? It is the masses, the millions upon millions of people who genuinely support the revolution.

—Mao Tse-tung

Replace "the revolution" with the term sound merchandising, and that quotation becomes a guide to success in capitalist retailing. So claims Isao Nakauchi, head of Japan's fastest-growing store chain and an admitted admirer of Mao, even though he himself is a political conservative. By following the Chairman's strategic principles, Nakauchi has built his 14-year-old Daiei, Inc., into a 63-store chain that in 1970 grossed $415 million, second only to the volume of the Mitsukoshi department stores. This...

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