The stores were named after the hero in Miguel de Cervantes novel, whose style corresponds to ourselves defying unfair restrictions and regularity, bravely and aggressively offering challenges to the conventional retail industry. Our penguin mascot, Donpen, stands for Don Quijote Penguin.
Founded by Takao Yasuda, Don Quijote opened its first store in Suginami, Tokyo in September 1980 under its original name, Just Co. Originally a retail store, Just Co. quickly switched to wholesale in 1982.
The company opened its first “Don Quijote” named store in Fuchu, Tokyo in March 1989. With the name change, the store also changed its primary business from wholesale to retail. It was not until 1995, six years later, that Just Co. followed suit and it changed its corporate name to Don Quijote Co., Ltd as well. In June 1998, the company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
As one of the few discount stores in Japan, the end of the Japanese economic bubble did not have disastrous effects for Don Quijote. Instead, the sudden economic uncertainty caused the Japanese public to become more thrifty and therefore helped to boost sales at its stores during the early 1990s.
In 2005, idol group AKB48 opened its theater on the eighth floor of the Don Quijote Akihabara Outlet in Tokyo.
In October 2007, Don Quijote purchased ailing Nagasakiya for 140 billion yen.This store and 3 other group companies went defunct in Oct 2017 as creditors have pulled the plug on their combined 432 billion yen of debts.Creditors continue to bankroll the rest of the group.
On June 28, 2017, PAQ, which operated Honolulu-based Times, Big Save and Shima, under the subsidiary QSI, Inc., announced that it had sold the 24 stores it owns in Hawaii to Honolulu-based Don Quijote (USA), using an executed stock purchase agreement with the sale closing in the 3rd quarter of 2017.The deal will combine Times with three Don Quijote stores and two Marukai stores on Oahu. In a statement from Edwin Sawai, president of Don Quijote (USA) Co., Ltd. and Marukai Hawaii Co. Ltd., he said that “The opportunity to welcome the Times Supermarket family of stores and their employees to our ohana is exciting for us,” and added that “We are confident that we will successfully work together, share ideas and learn from each other’s combined experiences to best serve Hawaii. For more than 68 years, Times Supermarket has been a local favorite and pillar of Hawaii’s retail community. We look forward to continuing their history and success in the islands.”
Further expansion to Singapore and Hong Kong
Don Quijote opened its first East Asian store outside of Japan at Orchard Central, Singapore, on December 1, 2017.These stores are branded “Don Don Donki”, as the Don Quijote name is in use by a local restaurant. Don Quijote then opened a second store at the 100AM Mall in Tanjong Pagar on June 14, 2018.Don Quijote plans to have 5 stores in Singapore by the end of 2019 and 10 stores at the end of 2020.A third store was opened at City Square Mall in Singapore on January 11, 2019 with a fourth at Novena Square in May 2019.The fifth store in Singapore is located at Jewel Changi, under the Sweet Potato Factory concept. A store location was announced in June 2019 at Clarke Quay Central, increasing the total to six stores. Two more stores opened at Jem and JCube in November 2019 and January 2020 respectively. A 10th store is expected to open at NTUC Downtown East.As of 2021, Singapore has the largest amount of Don Quijote stores outside of the home islands. The founder of Don Quijote also lives in Singapore, specifically at Sentosa.
Inspired by the success in Singapore, it also expanded to Hong Kong. Don Quijote has five outlets in the special administrative region, one at Mira Place 2 in Tsim Sha Tsui, one at OP Mall in Tsuen Wan, one at Pearl City in Causeway Bay, one at 100QRC in Central and one at Monterey Place in Tseung Kwan These stores have also adopted the Don Don Donki branding that was first established in Singapore. Don Quijote opened one more store at the Island Resort Mall in Siu Sai Wan in February 2021. Another store is expected to open at TMT Plaza in Tuen Mun in 2021. On 19 March 2021, the first Don Don Donki store in Malaysia was opened in Lot 10 of Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
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