STORES | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japan's convenience stores look to get back growth

Some stores are beginning to test small minimart grocery formats.

With their profit and sales going down, Japan’s leading convenience stores are looking at ways to return to growth, and driving differentiation remains high on the agenda of all retailers, according to a report from IGD.

Some stores are beginning to test small minimart grocery formats like Aeon's My Basket. The banner has expanded to 921 stores, opening more than 50 in 2020, and has been popular since the pandemic, the report added.

All of the convenience retailers are seeing a decline in sales YoY. 7-Eleven is in the lead in terms of adapting and managing the impact: sales fell the sharpest YoY in April 2020 at 5.6%, but performance has been recovering. For the month of January 2021, all store sales at 7-Eleven dipped 1.2%, whereas Lawson’s and Ministop’s fell 6.7% and 5.9%, respectively.

For the month of January, customer footfall was down 11.6% and 15.5% for 7-Eleven and Lawson, respectively, as the stores were affected by recent snow storms and another pandemic state of emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures.

For these stores, focussing on initiatives that can boost average spend per customer remains important. 7-Eleven is expanding sales space for liquor, whilst FamilyMart has installed freezers at all its stores.

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