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Lionel Desclée has been appointed as the new CEO at Seiyu, one of the largest supermarket chains in Japan.
From 15th March, Lionel Desclée will takes over from Mitch Slape (interim CEO) as the new CEO of Seiyu. Desclée left management of Tom & Co earlier this year, but he remains a shareholder and member of the board. Walmart invested in Seiyu back in 2002, before taking over in 2005. Last year, there were rumours that Walmart was planning to sell Seiyu, but the retailer later confirmed that it did not enter any discussions with buyers.
There are more than 300 Seiyu supermarkets in Japan, twice as many stores as Seven & i's Ito-Yokado. However, large format operators are facing increasing pressures, both in profitability and competition from online retailers and shoppers' increasing preference to shop at local convenience outlets and drugstores. In response, Walmart partnered Rakuten to launch a new online grocery service last year. The retailer is also shifting away from the large format store concept to more of a 'discount' supermarket, offering food and consumables.