Q&A with top management | From the president to investors
Responses to questions below are as of the month posted. The situation may have changed, due to various factors including economic conditions and the competitive landscape within the industry, depending on the time of viewing.
- Are you going to continue offering more digital content in the future?
- Currently, we offer 41 digital magazines, including those published by Toyo Keizai and Shueisha, as well as a video-on-demand service called “ozzio theater.”
One feature of our digital content is that it can be downloaded onto all devices, such as PCs and tablet computers, and that furthermore, users can enjoy ongoing support. In the future, we will continue to offer more digital magazines and other content services.
- How will you be displaying your prices after the consumption tax increase in April?
- We plan to not include consumption tax in our displayed prices. We have already changed all our service prices listed at our store so that tax is not included in the displayed price.
- Will you be opening your stores on New Year’s Day?
- Our directly managed PC DEPOT and PC DEPOT Smart Life stores will be closed on. They will be open for business starting January 2.
PC Clinics in these stores will also start to accept requests for diagnosis, repair, and configuration on January 2.
- Has a last-minute rise in demand begun?
- It is true that some customers are worrying about the rise in consumption tax, but its effects and future prospects are unknown at moment.
We will approach customers in order that last-minute demand is leveled off as much as possible. Specifically, our policy is to provide necessary products and services when needed. We will not run sales promotions that will unnecessarily whip up last-minute demand.
- Does PC DEPOT’s business benefit from factors such as rises in PC unit prices along with falls in the number of PCs sold and the increase in the sales volume for tablet computers?
- We are focusing on marketing Internet devices. We believe the above-mentioned factors are good for us because a rise in the sales volume for any kinds of Internet devices, including PCs, tablets and smartphones gives us more opportunities to provide our products and services to customers.
- Do you deal in 3D printers?
- Yes, they are sold at PC DEPOT and PC DEPOT Smart Life stores.
- Have you been encouraged by the economic recovery to open more new stores?
- We do not plan to accelerate our pace of opening new stores because of the business upturn.
We are revitalizing our existing stores, as the demand for our services is clearly growing due to the increased popularity of smart devices, and along with this initiative, we are striving to ensure the stable operation of our PCDEPOT Smart Life Stores, which have a new business model that we are currently focusing on.
- Do you plan to handle PlayStation 4?
- At present, we are accepting reservations for the PlayStation 4, scheduled to be launched on February 22, 2014.
- Will the Tokyo 2020 Olympics generate increased revenue for PC DEPOT?
- We do not expect the games to lead directly to revenue growth for us.
- Following the termination of Windows XP support, what services will be provided to premium service members?
- From the viewpoint of sweeping away future security worries, we are replacing our members’ Windows XP-based PCs with ones running the latest version of Windows operating system or with iPad tablet computers free of charge.
Currently we are contacting members qualified for this service in order to facilitate this free replacement.
- Following the termination of Windows XP support, has there been any change in the handling of used computers?
- We are continuing the purchase and sales of used Windows XP PCs.
- NTT docomo has also launched the iPhone5s and iPhone5c. Will this launch have a positive effect on PC DEPOT?
- The launch of the two models will have no negative effect on us because 50 of our outlets handle NTT docomo’s iPhone models; in other words, the percentage of our outlets handling these models is not low compared to other companies. In the current competitive environment, however, it is uncertain whether this will lead directly to increased sales.
In terms of services, on the other hand, we are already providing iPhone-exclusive services such as cloud computing and internet telephony. iPhone services such as support for connecting them to Macs and PCs are also being provided in a stable manner. In addition, iPhone services for premium service members are the most substantial of all of our smartphone services, and therefore, an increase in the number of members owning iPhones will have a positive effect on PC DEPOT.
Furthermore, PC DEPOT has a larger percentage of outlets handling Apple’s Mac PCs (50 out of 66 outlets) than suburban large-volume store operators, another factor that has a positive effect on us.
- You have announced a stock split plan. Why?
- In line with the Action Plan for the Consolidation of Trading Units being implemented by securities exchanges nationwide, we have introduced a share unit system.
Since stocks will be split to introduce the share unit system, with 100 shares comprising one unit, things will not practically change for our shareholders.
- Does the emergence of on-line shopping present a threat to PC DEPOT?
- We feel that the emergence of online shopping is having less of an impact on our business compared to other companies that focus on over-the-counter sales.
In addition to selling products at our stores, we differentiate ourselves from others, to a certain extent, by providing a one-stop service that includes technical services and support for PCs and other Internet devices and ongoing support at our stores. Moving forward, we believe that we can differentiate ourselves from online shopping by strengthening the sales of our products, services, and solutions, including content.
- Employment of staff members
- We are actively hiring personnel. We are now accepting applications for employment from FY2012 graduates and will continue doing so in FY2013 and FY2014.
Our hiring system enables us to make tentative job offers to applicants a minimum of ten days after their briefing session, first screening, one-week internship at a store, and final interview.
- Recently you announced your plan to open a new type of store. Is this a major factor for increasing the number of new store openings planned for this term?
- We will make a separate announcement if more new stores than initially planned for the current term are to be opened.
Our plan is to first ensure the reliable operation of existing stores and then to increase the number of stores.
- Does extreme summer heat have a positive impact on PC DEPOT’s business?
- It has no direct impact on our business since we do not carry seasonal products.
- Do Internet election campaigns have a positive impact on PC DEPOT’s business?
- We do not believe that they have any direct impact on our business.
However, use of the Internet in various scenarios by no means has a negative impact on our business since there is potential demand for PC services, such as safety and security maintenance.
- Can you tell us why you increased your number of corporate auditors?
- We increased the number of corporate auditors we have by one in order to strengthen our auditing system.
- Do you expect that an increasing number of tablet computers will be offered together with magazine subscriptions in the future?
- The number of magazines offered in this way is 13 at the moment. This will increase to around 20 this summer.
- What’s your outlook on personal computer sales?
- Currently, personal computer shipments are falling while tablet shipments are growing, but going forward, the PC’s central role in networking will remain unchanged, and as such a certain amount of replacement demand is expected.
There are a number of reasons to expect an increase in personal computer shipments, such as growth in Apple’s Mac lineup and the replacement of PCs due to Microsoft’s termination of support for Windows XP scheduled for next year.
- At PC DEPOT, are you committed to creating services for seniors?
- We consider it our mission to eliminate the digital divide caused by differences with regard to age, gender, income, education, place of residence, and other factors, Therefore we operate services providing content targeting seniors and offer discounts on PC Clinic services for people aged 60 or older.
In order to solve our customers’ problems, we will continue to expand our service lineup going forward.
- There has been media coverage of recent wage increases at certain companies. What is your view of this trend?
- Currently, we are shifting from being a retailer selling PCs to a business offering both products and services. In line with this change, we reviewed our salary system As a result, we have decided to raise employee salaries, and our new salary system will start in July 2013.
- Is “Surface” by Microsoft, released on March 15, available at PC DEPOT?
- No, it is not.
However, some other Windows RT products such as those by ASUS are available.
- How about the situation of subscription to digital magazines such as “Toyo Keizai”, and of sales of tablet devices?
- Currently, tablet devices can be sold in combination with subscription to digital magazines, of either “Toyo Keizai” or “President”, whose sales have so far been as planned.
For details, please refer to here.(in Japanese)
This service will continue to be expanded more widely, and you will be informed accordingly.
- How about your plan to open new stores during the next fiscal year?
- We will continue to focus on vitalizing existing stores of ours.
At the same time, we will open, as well as scrap and build, some new stores as appropriate.
- How many new employees will start working in the next fiscal year?
- Forty (40) new faces will join us.
- Do you think the recent rise in gasoline prices has any impact on your business?
- No, there is no direct impact.
However, many of our stores are located in suburbs, where most customers visit by car. So there might be some impact if they become more inclined to save their fuel costs.
- How was your New Year’s sale?
- We usually start our business from January 2nd (except for certain subsidiaries). This year our New Year’s sale continued until the weekend, January 6th, which was longer than last year.
- Have tablet devices sold well so far?
- New products such as “nexus” and “Kindle,” have provided wider variety of items and so far they have sold well.
- Is any shareholder special benefit plan available?
- Yes it is.
We present, once a year, complementary tickets which can be used at our stores, to our shareholders having been registered in our shareholder list as of March 31 every year and also holding four or more shares.
For details, please refer to here. (in Japanese)
- What kinds of official applications are made available at PC DEPOT?
- We have made available four PC DEPOT official applications for smartphones, including those for premium members.
By using PC DEPOT official application for smartphones, various information can be viewed including new products information at PC DEPOT stores and the latest leaflet. In addition, we offer “ozzio drive” for cloud service; “Kurashi-Joho-Bako (day-to-day life information box)” and “CLUB PCDEPOT” limited for premium service members.
For details, please refer to here. (in Japanese)