“If we offer higher wages, our staff can earn and spend more”: Costco Japan

When Costco Wholesale opened its warehouse in a rural Japanese town not far from Tokyo last year offering hundreds of jobs at eye-popping pay, a nearby noodle shop chain took a drastic step: it hiked hourly wages by a third. It was an almost unthinkable decision for Yamada-udon, which sells 390-yen ($2.48) bowls of noodles and for which the slightest rise in cost requires acrobatic scrambling to stay in business. “For us, even a one- or two-yen rise in raw materials costs is tough, so to i

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