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Rakuten and Seiyu will deliver products from the Seiyu LIVIN Yokosuka Store in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, to visitors in Sarushima via drones.

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Amazon and Life supermarket are partnering to sell fresh foods online in parts of Tokyo starting later this year.

Access to a greater range of products

Under the new partnership, Life will supply a range of products to members of Amazon Japan’s Prime Now service. While Amazon Japan will process payments and handle delivery.

The tie-up means that Amazon will be able to quickly offer a greater range, while Life hopes to reach a younger customer demographic and people who live in areas without its stores.

Amazon has partnered with bricks-and-mortar retailers in other markets, e.g. Morrisons (UK), Casino (France), Dia (Spain). We expect a similar approach in Australia and India in the future.

More about Amazon Japan

In April 2017, Amazon Fresh food service was launched, delivering orders to Amazon Prime members in Tokyo as fast as four hours. The platform carries 17,000 fresh produce items, as well as household goods, pet and personal care.

However, shopper trust and brand perception remain challenges for the retailer. Its latest agreement with Life should help boost its credibility, as it looks to cater to growing demand from the elderly and those who have difficulty getting to physical stores, which will also include busy professionals.

More about Life supermarket

Life supermarket already operates an online service giving customers access to approximately 6,000 products. However, its delivery area only covers around half of the Tokyo metropolitan region. Profitability also remains a challenge due to high operating costs. The partnership with Amazon will make the last mile shorter and therefore more efficient.  


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Phoenix Petroleum, owned by Dennis Uy, is acquiring Circle K in the Philippines.

Acquisition through Philippines FamilyMart

Phoenix Petroleum’s subsidiary Philippine FamilyMart CVS Inc. is in the process of acquiring Circle K in the Philippines. The acquisition aims to help FamilyMart drive future growth, with Circle K stores set to be rebranded to the FamilyMart banner over the next few months.

To establish a stronger presence, the retailer is launching FamilyMart stores at Phoenix retail stations as well as greenfield sites. Circle K in the Philippines is currently operated by Suy Sing Corp’s Super 8 Retail Systems.

More about Phoenix Petroleum

Phoenix Petroleum acquired FamilyMart Philippines in late 2017. Last year, it launched Generation 2 concept stores, offering customers a wider selection of food items and an upgraded shopping environment. FamilyMart ended FY2018 with 69 stores in the Philippines.

FamilyMart is reportedly suing to end its partnership with Taiwanese conglomerate Ting Hsin Group in China.

Dispute over royalties and visibility

FamilyMart has accused Ting Hsin of failing to arrange a fair share for profits it earned from its business in China, and not providing adequate information on the venture’s profitability.

More about the partnership

FamilyMart first established the joint venture back in 2004, and now operates over 2,560 stores in China. Ting Hsin Group currently owns 59.65% stake in the business.

Rakuten has published its results for the first quarter, with Group revenue up 15.9% to JPY280,294m (US$2.5bn) compared with the same period last year.

Internet Services revenue up 13.8%

Year-on-year revenue from Internet Services, Rakuten’s core business including ecommerce and travel booking services, increased 13.8% to JPY169,975m (US$1,5bn). Profit jumped 620.8% to JPY111,645m (US$1bn) following investment in U.S. ride-hailing company Lyft Inc.

Investments strengthening Rakuten’s ecosystem

Rakuten’s recent investments include Lyft, online scrapbook company Pinterest Inc and a stake in Dubai-based ride-hailing firm Careem,

Initiatives to grow transaction value

Rakuten has outlined several key focus areas to drive growth in gross transaction value and revenue:

  • Strengthening its customer base and winning new users
  • Promoting cross-use of services
  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Establishing logistics hubs with a view to expanding the ecommerce platform
  • Enhancing services for smart devices
  • Promoting strategies for opening up the Rakuten ecosystem

This in-depth guide to Japan explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

Five year growth forecasts for the grocery market, the leading retailers and modern trade grocery channels in Japan.


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