Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Costco’s Japanese wages offer an opportunity to boost the country’s low wages and economy

When Costco Wholesale opened its warehouse last year in a rural Japanese town not far from Tokyo, offering hundreds of jobs at eye-watering wages, a nearby noodle store chain took a drastic step: It raised hourly wages by a third.

It was an almost unthinkable decision for Yamada-udon, which sells bowls of noodles for ¥390 ($2.48) and for which the slightest increase in costs requires acrobatic scrambling to stay in business.

“For us, even an increase in raw material costs by one or two yen is difficult, so increasing the hourly wage by even ¥10 is a huge challenge because we need to generate much more sales,” said marketing director Takehiro Ehashi.

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