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Suzumo eyes overseas expansion

March 8, 2008

Sushi boom across the globe has turned into a global cuisine. But global expansion of sushi robot should be done in a flexible and cautious manner on the ground that aliment culture is entrenched in different communities all over the world. So we don`t stick with traditional Japanese-style sushi, said Ikuya Oneda, president of Suzumo, in an interview.


President of the largest sushi robot maker said that the sushi industry will expand even more if quality of the traditional Japanese cuisine improves.


“We operate our businesses where we can pitch our products. That`s basics of business, but when it comes to overseas expansion it is not that simple”, said Oneda. “People all over the world are aware of the health benefits of seafood. Sushi isn`t a transient boom anymore, and it has rather become well-established cuisine. But I sometimes encounter sushi that is overpriced for the price when I go abroad. I believe we should provide customers with real daintiness of sushi to strike the firmer root. I think there`s still space for improvement.”


The company targets markets out of the country as it targets to increase overseas sales shares to 20 percent in 3 years.


“We plan to increase our overseas sales share to 20 percent in 3 years, which is 15 percent now. We have established Suzumo International, based in Los Angeles and we have 4 sales persons trying to get our business on the track in the United States because it is the world`s source of information. If we can succeed in the U.S., we will be able to launch a new business deployment.”

Oneda holds high expectation that its wrapping sushi robot can spark a boom in the United States to get off to a good start.


“Our wrapping sushi robot, which gained tremendous popularity in Japan, could spark a boom in the United States. Our wrapping technology has been improved and our new machine can meet needs for bigger sushi items. I firmly believe this will gain much attention from take-out sushi business owners.”


The company`s April-December 9 month-sales were \4 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent from the same period a year earlier. Operating profit climbed 54.2 percent to \408 million, while net profit jumped 61.4 percent to \246 billion.


The good results were brought about by restaurant owners who wish to reduce costs amid a fierce competition in the foodservice industry. I expect we can report a strong fiscal for 2007 with increases of both sales and profit, said Oneda.

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