Ito-Yokado (株式会社イトーヨーカ堂, Kabushiki-gaisha Itō Yōkadō) is a Japanese general merchandise and department store, originally founded in 1920. In 2005, it was reorganized, as part of a corporate restructuring, as a subsidiary of the Seven & I Holdings Co..
As of March 2013, there are 178 Ito-Yokado stores operating in Japan. Since entering the Chinese market in 1997, opening their first store in the Chunxilu shopping district of Chengdu, the company has been operating eight stores in Beijing and six in Chengdu. The company formed a joint venture with Wangfujing Department Store and China Huafu Trade & Development Group Corp. to open one of five stores in Beijing. As of January 2013, there are fourteen Ito-Yokado stores in China.
Inside Ito-Yokado, the staff working at the register can play instrumentals of famous musical pieces, which is a code to workers in the store for specific things to do. These are:
Help! - The Beatles = when there is a rush of customers and they need more people for the till.
Daydream Believer - The Monkees = random Music, no code.
Rhythm of the Rain - The Cascades = to let customers know it is raining outside.
Carmen! = robbery and other criminal activities in the premises.
Symphony No. 5/1. Allegro con brio - Beethoven = bomb threat.
- It is known as Hua Tang in Mandarin. Ito-Yokado store information Retrieved 9 May 2013. (in Japanese)
- Hideo, Tsuchiya. "Doing Business in China: A Japanese Retailer Puts Down Local Roots". nippon.com. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Ito-Yokado overseas store information Retrieved 9 May 2013. (in Japanese)
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- Official website (in Japanese)