Find out about the retailer's strategic priorities, commercial focus areas, channel and country presence.

See data on the retailer’s performance and forecasts for its operations by channel.

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

We review Seven & i's retail outlook over the next five years and the key markets to watch, as it continues to expand around the world.

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Philippine Seven Corp (PSC), the exclusive local licensee of 7-Eleven convenient stores, plans to open 300 new stores in 2019.

Will hit 3,000 stores by end of 2019

The retailer continues to expand its franchise operations. The 300 new store openings will bring the total store count to 3,000 by end of 2019, on track with its plan announced in 2018. A third of these 300 stores will be in Metro Manila, 100 in Luzon and the remaining 100 will be in Visayas and Mindanao.

The company is committed in its store network expansion plan, ensuring sites with the highest potential are acquired. The group has 12 distribution centres, capable of serving 3,100 stores.

Accelerate openings to fend off competition

Going forward we expect openings to accelerate as we improve execution and adopt a more aggressive stance as competition from the emerging minimart channel increases,” PSC president Jose Victor Paterno said in an interview. Its key rival, SM Retail's Alfamart, is expanding quickly in the Philippines. PSC budgeted PHP3.5bn in capital expneditures this year and 80% will be spent on new store openings, existing outlets renovations and product launches. 

The retailer had a good performance in 2018, reporting a 16.2% growth in net income driven by a 8.8% like-for-like same store sales, the highest in five years. This year’s sales are also expected to be helped by the company’s private label products, such as its coffee and fried chicken lines.




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Japan's four largest retailers, Seven & i Holdings, Aeon, FamilyMart and Lawson, have posted their results for the first quarter.

Seven & i Holdings: total sales up 1.5%

Seven & i recorded a 1.5% increase in total group sales to JPY2,894.8bn (US$26.6bn), with operating profit rising 4.6% to JPY90.3bn (US$832.6m) year-on-year (yoy) for the three months ending 31 May. 

Domestic convenience store operations recorded a modest increase in revenue, up 1.1% yoy to JPY236.4bn (US$2.1bn). 7-Eleven Japan's key growth measure, existing store sales, increased 0.3% in the first quarter. This was despite a slight fall in customer numbers, offset by stronger average spending per customer. The retailer added 89 stores to its convenience network in Japan during the quarter, reaching 20,965 outlets.

Total store sales operations at 7-Eleven Inc (U.S and Canada) increased 2.8% to JPY893bn (US$8.2bn), driven by strong processed food, fast food and non-food sales. Gasoline sales, however, fell 0.7% to JPY449.5bn (US$4.1bn).

The retailer’s main supermarket banner, Ito-Yokado, posted decline in merchandise, lifestyle and foods sales yoy. This had a significant impact on consolidated superstore revenue, which fell 1.8% to JPY467.6bn (US$4.3bn).

Aeon: revenue up 1.3%

Aeon has posted a 1.3% increase in operating revenue to JPY2,130.9bn (US$19.6bn), with operating profit rising 6.7% to JPY42.2bn (US$389m) for the first quarter yoy. Operating revenue at both its General Merchandise Store and Supermarket operations were largely flat.

Operating revenue from operations in Japan increased 1.1% to JPY1,930.7bn (US$17.8bn). Growth was much stronger overseas for the retailer’s ASEAN business, with revenue rising 7.9% to JPY99.4bn (US$916.3m). Revenue from China was flat at JPY72.8bn (US$670.2m).

Aeon's Health & Wellness Business, which operates under Welcia Holdings Co., Ltd. continued to perform strongly. Operating revenue increased 10.5% to JPY214.2bn (US$1.9bn), supported by the addition of 35 net new stores during the first quarter (total network 1,913), as well as 5.9% LFL sales growth in existing stores.

FamilyMart: total store sales flat

FamilyMart posted total stores sales of JPY744.4bn (US$6.8bn) for the three months ended May 31, up 0.1% yoy. Operating profit was up 47.6% to JPY19.5bn (US$179m) yoy.  The retailer ended the first quarter with a total network of 23,820 stores, down 182, mainly due to store consolidation in Japan.

FamilyMart's largest overseas market, Taiwan (3,406 stores), posted a challenging set of results. Revenue fell 3.3% to JPY15.2bn (US$139.6m)  yoy, despite a net increase of 201 new stores.

This fiscal year, it will work towards four strategic pillars: enhancing support for franchised stores, strengthening the profitability of its stores, moving forward with the shift to digital, and promoting business collaboration with Pan Pacific International Holdings Corporation (PPIH).

There are approx. 1,000 FamilyMart stores in Japan equipped with self-checkout registers. Like its competitors, FamilyMart is also beginning to test different business operating hours for its stores. For its moving forward with the shift to digital strategy, the retailer recently launched the FamiPay smartphone app, which uses the Group’s digital FamiPay electronic money. In addition to T-POINT, which can be used for shopping already, FamilyMart plans to introduce d POINT and Rakuten Point in November.  

An increasing number of operators in Japan have announced environmental-friendly policies and FamilyMart is no different. It hopes to reduce food waste by developing its products so they can have a longer shelf live. It has also shifted to a reservation only system for Doyo no Ushi (eel), which is a seasonal product.

The merger of FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co., Ltd. and FamilyMart Co., Ltd. to FamilyMart Co., Ltd is still expected to go ahead and effective from September 1, 2019.

Lawson: revenue up 4.9%

Lawson has recorded a 12.4% increase in operating profit to JPY14.2bn (US$131.3m) for the three months ending May 2018. Operating revenue increased 4.9% to JPY178.8bn (US$1.6bn) and consolidated net sales of convenience stores increased 5.6% to JPY623.8bn (US$5.7bn) yoy.

In the first quarter, existing-store-sales in Japan increased 1.3% yoy. This was mainly driven by stronger average spend per customer, with improved evening and night time product ranges popular.

The Group increased its total stores network by 174 stores to 17,043 in the first quarter. Expansion was mainly in China (net 146 stores to 2,153), the retailer’s second largest market. Just outside the reported period, (in June 2019) Lawson became the first Japanese convenience store operator to enter Hunan province, opening five stores in Changsha.

Last month, Lawson launched the Another Choice program at its stores in Ehime and Okinawa prefectures. The initiative aims to both reduce food loss and donate food to children in need. Under the program, Lawson awards Ponta members and d point card members points on purchasing products approaching their sell-by dates, and donates 5% of the total purchase to initiatives that support children.

Looking ahead, Lawson remains committed to introducing initiatives to make store operations more efficient, and is introducing self-cash register and smartphone cash register facilities at its stores.

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Seven-Eleven Japan has opened 14 stores in Okinawa today (11 July 2019), the only Japanese prefecture where the retailer's presence is missing.

Increasing competition in Okinawa…

The 14 new stores that have opened today are mainly concentrated in the southern part of the prefecture's main Okinawa Island, where a large proportion of residents are based.

Seven-Eleven Japan plans to open as many as 250 stores in the next five years. Its key competitors, FamilyMart and Lawson have been trading in Okinawa for many years, opening their first stores in the prefecture in 1987 and 1997 respectively. As of the end of June, there were 325 FamilyMart stores and 233 Lawson stores in the region.

Localised offer essential

Seven & i Holdings, parent of Seven-Eleven Japan, has opened two factories in Okinawa so that it can manufacture products tailored to local tastes. It has already launched 13 new products based on local favourites, including a pork and fried egg rice ball and taco rice styled options. Both FamilyMart and Lawson work with local businesses to develop products catered to consumers in Okinawa.

Strengthening coverage and private label

Seven-Eleven Japan first announced its plans to enter Okinawa just over two years ago. The move not only helps boost the retailer’s domestic coverage, but also play a role as a ‘transportation hub’ for expanding sales of its private label products across Asia.

Seven-Eleven Japan has launched its own smartphone payment service today (July 1).

Convenience for shoppers

The new 7pay service allows users to make payments by presenting barcodes displayed on their smartphones at cashier counters. It will offer shoppers greater convenience, while allow 7-Eleven to collect data for product development.

Strengthening its digital proposition

For its digital strategy, Seven & i Holdings (7&i) has outlined three core principles: customer-oriented, customer engagement and customer experience.

7&i has launched 7iD, providing shoppers convenient access to all apps / sites owned by the Group in Japan. Data has revealed that that these members have higher purchasing frequency, purchase amount, and retention rate compared to members of nanco, 7&i’s prepaid rechargeable contactless electronic money card.

Linked to the app is the ewallet payment function, which it has launched today. Furthermore, 7pay app is set to launch in October for external participating stores. As part of the retailer's digital strategy, it plans to develop the function further by integrating the payment app among Group companies' applications by Spring 2020.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Datacentre the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

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