|Traded as||TYO: 3048|
Bic Camera, Inc. (株式会社ビックカメラ Kabushiki gaisha Bikku Kamera) is a consumer electronics retailer chain in Japan. Currently, it has 41 stores in Japan. Bic Camera has a 50% ownership of former rival store Kojima and full ownership of computer store chain Sofmap.
In 1968, Ryuji Arai (新井隆司 Arai Ryuji) founded Takasaki DP Center Co., Ltd. (株式会社高崎DPセンター Kabushiki gaisha Takasaki DP Sentā) in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. Four years later, the camera sales department was separated from the company and renamed Bic Color Co., Ltd. (株式会社ビックカラー Kabushiki gaisha Bikku Karā). In 1978, Bic Color was renamed Bic Camera, with their first store opening in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Originally specializing in selling cameras at discount prices, Bic Camera expanded to selling home appliances, personal computers, alcoholic beverages, golf equipment, bedding, luxury brand products, bicycles, and toys.
In 1994, Bic Camera spun-off its PC section to Bic Personal Computer Hall (株式会社ビックパソコン館設立 Kabushiki gaisha Bikku Pasokon-kan). Following a decline in PC sales, this subsidiary was absorbed back into the company in 2000. Nippon BS Broadcasting Corp. was established in 1999, with Bic Camera as its majority shareholder. In 1995, Bic Camera displayed banners protesting France's nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific.
As part of its expansion, Bic Camera purchased Sogo's Yūrakuchō building in 2001. Throughout the 2000s, Bic Camera opened locations connected to JR stations across the country. In 2005, Bic Camera moved its headquarters from Nishi-Ikebukuro to Takada. A year later, the company purchased Sofmap in February and had itself listed in the JASDAQ Securities Exchange on August 10. In September, Bic Camera purchased a 3.2% stake in Tokyo Broadcasting System. On October 5, 2007, Bic Camera acquired a 9.33% share of rival Best Denki and increased its stake to 14.95%. On June 10, 2008, the company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and had itself delisted from JASDAQ on August 29. In 2009, Bic Camera was fined US$1.3 million by the TSE for falsifying its earnings after its shares lost half its value early that year. As a result, Arai stepped down as chairman and the company was delisted from the TSE. Sofmap was delisted on January 26, 2010 after becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Bic Camera. In June 2010, Bic Camera absorbed rival Sakuraya.
On June 26, 2012, Bic Camera purchased 50% of rival store chain Kojima. As a result of the Kojima acquisition, Best Denki split from Bic Camera and was fully acquired by Yamada Denki on July 13. On September 1, Arai was reinstated as chairman. On September 27, Bic Camera signed a partnership with clothing giant Uniqlo to convert the Shinjuku East Store to BICQLO (ビックロ Bikkuro).
In April 2017, Bic Camera started accepting Bitcoin as a payment option before allowing it at all locations in June. On December 19, Bic Camera partnered with Rakuten to launch Rakuten Bic (楽天ビック Rakuten Bikku). In 2018, Bic Camera reported record profits and a 50% increase in shares as a result of a rise in Chinese tourists and the store chain's acceptance of Alipay and WeChat.
Bic Camera has 59 stores in the Kantō region (25 in Tokyo, seven in Kanagawa, two in Saitama, and three in Chiba). Outside the Kantō region, there is one store in Hokkaido, one in Niigata, one in Gunma, one in Ibaraki, two in Shizuoka, five in Aichi, two in Kyoto, four in Osaka, one in Okayama, one in Hiroshima, one in Fukuoka, one in Kagoshima, and one in Okinawa. This includes BICQLO (a joint venture with Uniqlo), shared branches with Kojima, and Air Bic Camera (airport branches). The largest store is the Yūrakuchō Honkan branch in Tokyo.
Commercials and jingles
Bic Camera's theme song
Bic Camera has its own jingle titled "Bic Camera no Uta" (ビックカメラの歌 Bikku Kamera no Uta), which used in TV commercials and broadcast within the stores. The jingle's melody is loosely based on the enka song "Tabako-ya no Musume" (煙草屋の娘, lit. "The Girl at the Tobaccoist's"), which, in turn, traces its roots to the American hymn "Shall We Gather at the River?". The song's original lyrics for the main branch in Ikebukuro reference the Ikebukuro Station, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line by the east exit and the Tōbu Tōjō Line by the west exit. The lyrics are changed for specific branches.
- Lee, Yoojung; Cooper, Chris (2018-05-17). "Bargain-hunting Chinese make Japanese retail king Bic Camera a billionaire". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
- "Bic Camera to acquire majority in Kojima: Nikkei". Thomson Reuters. 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- "Bic Camera raises stake in Best Denki". Japan Today. 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
- "Sakuraya closing business to be a part of Bic Camera". Tenkai-Japan. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
- "Yamada Denki to buy rival Best Denki". The Japan Times. 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- Milner, Rebecca (2012-09-27). "Bicqlo – Bic Camera meets Uniqlo – is here!". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- Helms, Kevin (2017-06-11). "Unexpected Popularity Prompts Bic Camera to Accept Bitcoin at All Locations". Bitcoin. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- "List of BicCamera stores". Bic Camera. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
- "ビックカメラ | ページ移転". Bic Camera. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
- "ビックカメラの歌 CMソング 各店舗の歌詞". Theme-Music.net. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
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