Wal-Mart and Rakuten to launch online grocery delivery service Japan and new eBooks and audiobooks offering in the U.S.

Companies to launch online grocery delivery service in Japan and new eBooks and audiobooks offering in the U.S.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. and TOKYO, Japan, 2018-Jan-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) president and CEO Doug McMillon and Rakuten, Inc. Chairman, president and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani met in Tokyo today ( Jan. 25, 2018) to announce a new strategic alliance that leverages each company’s unique strengths and assets to expand consumer reach and enhance how customers are served in Japan and the U.S.

The collaboration includes the launch of a new online grocery delivery service in Japan beginning in the third quarter of 2018. In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo Inc. have formed an exclusive retail alliance that will enable Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks, as well as offer Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com in the United States starting later this year.

“Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan,” McMillon said. “Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile—no matter how customers want to shop. We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the U.S.”

Mikitani said, “As global leaders in e-commerce and offline shopping, Rakuten and Walmart are uniquely positioned to empower our customers around the world with innovative services.” He added, “We are excited to partner with Walmart because of its commitment to creating the best solutions to serve customers with low prices.”

Japan online grocery delivery service
Rakuten and Seiyu GK, a subsidiary of Walmart, have reached a basic agreement to establish a joint venture with the aim of launching a new online grocery delivery service in Japan, to be known as “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper.” The new service is planned to be launched in the latter half of 2018.

Rakuten and Seiyu will launch a new online grocery delivery service leveraging each of the companies’ strengths to offer a more convenient shopping experience that meets the changing needs of customers in Japan. Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper will aim to increase fulfillment capacity, enrich the merchandise offering and improve convenience for the customer. The service will aim to increase capacity in 2018 with the establishment of a dedicated fulfilment center, in addition to offering deliveries from Seiyu stores.

The new service’s merchandise offering will showcase Seiyu’s twin strengths of “quality” and “low prices.” To serve the needs of customers increasingly short on time for preparation, the service will include not only fresh produce and daily consumables but also a rich lineup of convenient items such as cut vegetables, partially-prepared foods and ready-meal kits, as well as popular local gourmet products from merchants on the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace.

Furthermore, the new service will utilize Rakuten’s deep expertise in e-commerce to offer a site with an optimized user experience, as well as leveraging big data and AI to offer a more personalized merchandise offering.

Customers using the new service will enjoy the benefit of being able to earn and use Rakuten Super Points, also allowing them to use their points on more than 70 services within the Rakuten ecosystem.

Rakuten Kobo U.S. eReading Service
As part of this alliance, Walmart will become Rakuten Kobo’s exclusive mass retail partner for the Kobo brand in the U.S., offering Kobo’s nearly six million titles from thousands of publishers and hundreds of thousands of authors to Walmart.com customers. Walmart.com will offer eBooks and audiobooks for sale later this year. Walmart will also sell digital book cards in stores, enabling more than 4,000 stores to carry a broader selection of books for customers.

All eBook content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app available on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold at Walmart later this year.

“Walmart is one of the top retailers in the world and one of the largest booksellers in the U.S. Our strategy from day one has been to partner with the world’s best retailers, so that they can easily offer their customers the option of reading digitally. This informs the software and devices we create, the books and authors we promote, and also the partnerships we build,” said Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn. “For us, this is another great opportunity to serve book lovers at Walmart, those people who make reading an important part of their lives.”

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. The company’s legal name will become Walmart Inc., effective on Feb. 1, 2018, to reflect its growing status as an omni-channel retailer. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our more than 11,600 stores under nearly 59 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

About Rakuten
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world. Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 30 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

About Seiyu
Seiyu operates retail chain stores nationwide from Hokkaido to Kyushu, selling fresh food, groceries, apparel, general merchandise and other products. We are striving to deliver our customers “Our Promise”: Offering everyday needs at unbeatable prices at the quality they want through the channel they prefer to shop, such as stores, and online grocery delivery service, which provides them with highly valuable shopping experience of key attributes for differentiation: “Price Leadership”, “Quality and Freshness”, “Product Assortment” and “Convenience”. Fully leveraging the global network and creditworthiness of our parent company, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., we will actively develop attractive sales floors to better suit the preference and needs of Japanese customers.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering nearly 6 million eBooks and audiobooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE; along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple® and Android®. Kobo’s award-wining eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

Media Inquiries:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Media Relations
+1 (479)273-4314
news.walmart.com/reporter

Rakuten, Inc.
Corporate Communications Department
global-pr@mail.rakuten.com
(+81) 50-5817-1104

Seiyu GK
Public Relations
+81-3-3598-7760

Rakuten Kobo Inc.
PR & Communications
kobo-pr@mail.rakuten.com

Source: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Alexa and Echo are now available by invitation in Japan

Developers can now create Alexa experiences for customers in Japan—Alexa Skills Kit also now available in Japan, and Alexa Voice Service coming later this month

SEATTLE, 2017-Nov-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Amazon today (Nov. 8, 2017) announced that Alexa and Echo are now available by invitation in Japan. Additionally, developers can now use the Alexa Skills Kit to create Japanese Alexa experiences, and will soon be able to use the Alexa Voice Service to integrate Alexa into products for Japanese customers. Read the press release announcing Alexa in Japan: https://amazon-press.jp.

“Tens of millions of customers already love Alexa and we’re thrilled to introduce her to our customers in Japan today, with an all-new experience designed from the ground up for Japanese customers, including a new Japanese voice, local knowledge, and over 250 skills from Japanese developers,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “We’re also excited to expand the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service, so developers and hardware makers around the world can create Alexa experiences for our Japanese customers.”

Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they’re always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo—just ask, and she’ll answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, recite your calendar, check sports scores, control lights around your home, and much more. With far-field voice control, Echo can do all this from across the room. Since Alexa runs in the AWS cloud, she is always getting smarter—plus, it is simple for developers to build Alexa skills and integrate Alexa into their own products.

The devices will start shipping in Japan next week.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Media Hotline:

206-266-7180
www.amazon.com/pr

Source: Amazon.com, Inc.

Rakuten becomes exclusive distribution partner in Japan for all live NBA games and global marketing partner of NBA

Rakuten to Market to NBA Fans Around the World Through Rakuten Ichiba, Ebates and Rakuten Viber

TOKYO, 2017-Oct-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Rakuten, Inc. today (OCTOBER 10, 2017) announced a multiyear partnership making Rakuten the league’s exclusive distribution partner in Japan for all live NBA games and a global marketing partner of the NBA.  This marks the NBA’s most comprehensive media partnership in Japan and Rakuten’s first with a North American sports league.

This season, Rakuten will offer NBA LEAGUE PASS, the league’s premium live game subscription service, exclusively to Rakuten members in Japan through NBA.com, the NBA App and for purchase through Rakuten’s video-on-demand service, Rakuten TV.  NBA LEAGUE PASS will allow fans to watch all NBA games including preseason, regular-season and playoffs games, NBA All-Star, NBA Conference Finals and The Finals, in addition to other exclusive programming.

Rakuten will also offer a subscription package on Rakuten TV, providing fans with access to nine games a week, one game per weekday and two games each on Saturdays and Sundays.

“We are very excited to partner with the NBA to bring all the action of the world’s top basketball league to fans in Japan,” said Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc.  “As we have recently announced that we are proud partners of the Golden State Warriors, the NBA’s reigning champions, it is an honor to expand our contributions to the global growth and development of basketball with this NBA partnership.”

“Rakuten is one of the world’s most innovative companies and an ideal partner for the NBA,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “Our new relationship with Rakuten speaks to the appetite that our passionate fans in Japan have for live NBA games and content, and we look forward to working with Rakuten to provide the most comprehensive NBA coverage to date.”

The global marketing partnership also allows Rakuten to create NBA and team zones, and sell select NBA and team merchandise on its e-commerce channels globally, including Rakuten Ichiba in Japan and Ebates, a leading membership-based online cash-back site in the U.S.

Rakuten Viber, Rakuten’s instant messaging platform, will also become an official platform for the NBA and its teams, providing their more than 900 million users with access to league content.

The NBA’s presence in Japan dates back almost 30 years.  NBA games and programming have been on-the-air since the 1988-89 season, and officially licensed NBA merchandise is widely available at more than 180 Xebio stores across Japan.  The league has conducted a number of events in Japan, including 12 regular-season games in three cities, interactive fan events, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives, and in 2012, Basketball without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program.

Founded in 1997 in Tokyo as the world’s first successful merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, Rakuten now encompasses over 70 businesses spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech that reach more than one billion members around the globe.  Rakuten’s professional sport portfolio includes ownership of Japan’s Vissel Kobe soccer club and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, the team that won the national Japan Series Championship in 2013.  In July 2017, the company also became the Main Global Partner and Official Innovation and Entertainment Partner for iconic soccer club FC Barcelona.

For more information on the NBA, fans in Japan can visit www.nba.co.jp or follow the NBA on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and updates.  Fans interested in viewing NBA games on Rakuten TV in Japan can visit tv.rakuten.co.jp.

About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA G League.  The league has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2016-17 season featured a record 113 international players from 41 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA App and NBA LEAGUE PASS.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than 1.3 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society.  Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world.  Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 30 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list.  The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions.  For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

JAPAN: Rakuten and Lawson to trial initiative that combines drone deliveries and convenience store mobile sales

JAPAN: Rakuten and Lawson to trial initiative that combines drone deliveries and convenience store mobile sales

 

Trial to begin at Lawson’s Minamisoma-Odaka store on October 31

Tokyo, 2017-Oct-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. and Lawson, Inc. today (October 6, 2017) announced that the two companies will begin a trial initiative that combines mobile sales via dedicated vehicles and product deliveries through the use of drones. The trial will operate out of Lawson’s Minamisoma-Odaka Store (Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture) and will launch on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. This initiative, which pairs drone deliveries with convenience store mobile sales, will be the first of its kind in Japan.

Odaka District in Minamisoma City was designated as a district under evacuation orders due to the effects of the nuclear accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant. This designation was rescinded in July 2016, and the town is starting to regain its former liveliness as its residents continue to return home. However improving the shopping environment for daily necessities, food, and other products represents a high-priority challenge.

Lawson’s Minamisoma-Odaka Store opened in October 2016. It was the first convenience store to resume operations in the Odaka District. With this collaboration, mobile sales will be made twice a week to the Odaka District from the store. One of these will involve the delivery of fried foods, such as “Kara-age Kun” fried chicken, and other items that are unable to be loaded onto the mobile sales vehicle, by Rakuten Drone delivery drone to the mobile sales destination from the store*1. This service trial will be carried out for six months after which consideration will be given to the official launch of the service.

* The drone may not be able to fly due to weather conditions such as rainfall, wind, or extreme temperature.

Lawson began offering mobile sales in 2013, and now has approximately 80 stores in 28 prefectures engaged in such sales, primarily in rural, mountainous regions and to elder-care facilities in urban areas. Through mobile sales, Lawson is aiming to create “local shopping communities” that provide the joy of shopping and create connections with the community through mobile sales.

In May 2016, Rakuten lauched Rakuten Drone (then called Sora Raku), a service for providing drone delivery solutions. Since then, the company has earned a strong track record in drone delivery through the use of its drones at golf courses and joint demonstration experiments with local governments and other organizations. In February, Rakuten concluded a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture part of which includes the development of a new distribution system utilizing drones. This current initiative will serve as the first step towards the introduction of drone delivery via a collaboration with Lawson, which has previously partnered with other Rakuten Group services.

Through this collaboration, Rakuten and Lawson will work to improve the shopping environment in Minamisoma City, aiming to jointly contribute to the development of the local community.

Source: Rakuten  Inc.

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Alexa and Echo now available in India; will launch in Japan later this year

  • The Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service also now available for developers in India
  • Amazon also announced this week that Alexa and Echo are coming to Japan this year

SEATTLE, 2017-Oct-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — Amazon today (Oct. 4, 2017) announced that Alexa and Echo are now available by invitation in India, and that they are coming to Japan later this year. Read the press release announcing Alexa in India: www.amazon.in/pr.

“Millions of customers love Alexa, and we’re thrilled to introduce her to our customers in India today and Japan later this year,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “We’re also excited to expand the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service, so developers and hardware makers around the world can create localized Alexa experiences for our Indian and Japanese customers.”

Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they’re always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo—just ask, and she’ll answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, recite your calendar, check sports scores, control lights around your home, and much more. With far-field voice control, Echo can do all this from across the room. Since Alexa runs in the AWS cloud, she is always getting smarter—plus, it is simple and free for developers to build Alexa skills and integrate Alexa into their own products.

The devices will start shipping in India later this month, and Alexa and Echo will be available in Japan later this year.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Media Hotline:
Amazon-pr@amazon.com
www.amazon.com/pr

Source: Amazon.com, Inc.

JAPAN: Rakuten AirMap launches UTM system platform for drone manufacturers and application developers

Tokyo, 2017-Aug-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten AirMap, Inc. today (AUGUST 23, 2017) announced the launch of its UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) system platform for drone manufacturers and application developers. This marks the first service offering for the Japanese joint venture established in March 2017 by Rakuten, Inc. and AirMap, Inc.

The Rakuten AirMap platform will give drone manufacturers and drone-related application developers access to the company’s suite of UTM APIs, making it possible for them to easily incorporate into their products features essential for ensuring the safety of drone flight, such as information about no-fly and restricted-flight zones and the ability to create flight plans and logs and also to receive commercial aviation alerts during flight. By providing this platform to drone manufacturers and application developers, Rakuten AirMap will make it easier for new features to be added to existing drone systems and for related applications to be developed. It is hoped this will lead to an acceleration in the development of new drone services.

Rakuten AirMap has plans to offer its platform and services to Japanese airspace managers and drone operators in future. Through its offerings of drone airspace management solutions, Rakuten AirMap seeks to contribute to the realization of safe and smooth drone flights and empower further development of the Japanese drone industry.

Source: Rakuten Inc.

JAPAN: Rakuten announces investment in genetic health testing pioneer Genesis Healthcare Co.

Tokyo, 2017-Aug-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) today announced it has invested in genetic health testing pioneer Genesis Healthcare Co., receiving a 1.4 billion yen issue of new shares. Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani will join Genesis Healthcare’s Board of Directors as an External Board Director.

Genesis Healthcare, founded in 2004, already manages one of the largest genetic databases in Asia and Japan, with approximately 520,000 individuals as of August, 2017, and plans to increase its database size to one million by 2020. While Genesis Healthcare offers various genetic testing services to government, medical professionals, academia, industry and consumers, it also offers healthcare and disease prevention test kits and IT services under the consumer brand “GeneLife” in order to enrich people’s lives through personalized genetic testing.

Genesis Healthcare’s Founder and President, Dr. Iri Sato Baran, commented, “The investment by Rakuten, a Japan leader in internet services, will allow us to increase awareness of genetic information technology through digital healthcare for the betterment of personalized health and self-medication.”

“Forward-thinking technologies like Genesis Healthcare’s genetic health analysis and a deeper understanding of responsible self-medication are essential to finding innovative responses to increasing health costs and the rising awareness of health issues in Japan,” commented Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. “With this investment, we would like to see Genesis Healthcare take a leading role in furthering the understanding and adoption of genetic health testing in Japan.”

Through the investment, Rakuten will support development and promote understanding of genetic diagnostic technologies in Japan in order to contribute to the realization of a richer society.

■Overview of Genesis Healthcare Co.
Company name: Genesis Healthcare Co.
Office location: Yebis Garden Place Tower 26F 4-20-3 Ebice, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Date of establishment: March1,2004
Capital:784M Yen
Representative: Dr. Iri Sato-Baran
Business Overview: Medical Kit manufacturing, Distribution license

Source: Rakuten Inc.

Nike Kicks Lounge opens in Omotesando, Japan

Omotesando, Japan, 2017-Jul-31 — /EPR Retail News/ — Nike Kicks Lounge first debuted in Shanghai, China in 2013, and on July 28, 2017, the next generation of this retail destination opens in Omotesando, Japan.

At its core, Nike Kicks Lounge offers a curated selection of sneakers from across Nike, Inc. — including Jordan Brand, Nike SB, Nike Sportswear and Nike Running — intermixed with a hyper-local intersection of sport, innovation and culture.

The latest iteration of Nike Kicks Lounge, in Omotesando, is located at the center of Tokyo’s street culture and is a destination for design-savvy consumers looking for a personal styling experience. The new store showcases a uniquely curated mix of footwear and apparel from Nike Sportswear, Nike Running, Nike Basketball, Nike SB and Jordan Brand. The product assortment is influenced by the store team, comprised of individuals who are well-versed in Tokyo’s culture and communities.

“The style-led and curated approach at Nike Kicks Lounge Omotesando purposely blurs the lines to support consumers’ preference to uniquely express themselves,” says Cathy Sparks, VP/GM, Global Nike Direct Stores.

Special in-store services include garment tailoring and customization of tees, hoodies and sports bras. Custom printing allows for more than thirty options, including some of Nike’s original designs and special logos created by artists who were involved in the creation of the store. These can be used alone or in combination.

Nike Kicks Lounge Omotesando will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the vibrant, ever-changing atmosphere of Tokyo, in collaboration with local artists representing the city. Indicative of the global concept, it emphasizes the local curation of Nike’s best product, supported by consumer experiences that connect to the local community.

Source: Nike

JAPAN: New partnership to boost regional economy of Satsumasendai City

Collaboration in six areas, including the opening of an e-commerce antenna shop

Tokyo, 2017-Jul-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. announced today (JULY 6, 2017)  that it has partnered with Satsumasendai City and the Satsumasendai Tourism & Specialty Products Association in a comprehensive collaboration agreement to use the internet to revitalize the regional economy of Satsumasendai City.

Rakuten also announced the opening of the “Ekiichi Satsumasendai” e-commerce antenna shop (http://www.rakuten.co.jp/ekiichi/), selling local Satsumasendai City products on Rakuten Ichiba.

Under the agreement, the three parties will engage in a joint undertaking to effectively use various services provided by the Rakuten Group and the resources of Satsumasendai City to further revitalize the regional economy of the Satsumasendai area. Specifically, they will strengthen the collaboration and promotion of the joint undertaking in six areas, including the operation of the e-commerce antenna shop launched today and the “hometown tax” system started by Satsumasendai City in 2016.

Rakuten is a supporter of local companies throughout Japan based on its corporate mission of empowering individuals and society through innovation and entrepreneurship. Through the joint business of this agreement, Rakuten will share the know-how it has cultivated with local companies in Satsumasendai City, and work to further stimulate the local economy and contribute to the development of society in the region.

■ The main areas of the comprehensive collaboration agreement:
(1) Promoting the use of IT by business operators and producers in Satsumasendai City
(2) Expanding sales channels of Satsumasendai products for domestic and overseas markets
(3) Promoting the attractions of Satsumasendai to tourists
(4) Promoting the use of the “hometown tax” system
(5) Developing and promoting local Satsumasendai cuisine
(6) Promoting the Satsumasendai region through the use of IT

■ Ekiichi Satsumasendai website: http://www.rakuten.co.jp/ekiichi/

Source: Rakuten Inc

JAPAN: Rakuten Pay smartphone app payment service now available at Lawson stores

Tokyo, 2017-Jun-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. and Lawson, Inc. today ( June 1, 2017) announced that the two companies have concluded a basic agreement for the introduction of “Rakuten Pay,” Rakuten’s smartphone app payment service, to Lawson stores. Based on the agreement, from August 2017 customers will be able to make payments with Rakuten Pay at 13,169 Lawson stores nationwide (as of April 2017), including Lawson, Natural Lawson and Lawson Store 100 stores. This will be the first time that Rakuten Pay has been adopted by  a major national chain for use in all of its stores

Rakuten Pay is a payment service that allows users to make payments smoothly at brick-and-mortar stores via a dedicated app. Payments can also be made using a combination of Rakuten Super Points and payment with the credit card registered to the user’s Rakuten membership ID. Users can also earn one Rakuten Super Point for every 200 yen (tax included) spent on purchases made through the app.

In addition to “QR Pay,” where the user scans a QR code displayed on a smartphone or tablet in the store, or “Self Pay,” where the user inputs the amount themselves, a new “Barcode Pay” payment method has been added to the Rakuten Pay app which allows users to present a barcode displayed on the app at Lawson stores nationwide to make the payment.

Rakuten Group and Lawson have been collaborating on a variety of services, such as the introduction of Rakuten’s electronic money service Rakuten Edy to all Lawson stores in August 2007, and the launch of a convenience store pick-up service in 2016, where users can collect products ordered  from Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Books at Lawson stores throughout the country , as well as Rakuten Mobile SIM cards and devices from Lawson stores in Tokyo. The two companies are also collaborating on a variety of Rakuten member campaigns connected to Lawson stores around the country.

Going forward, Rakuten aims to provide more convenient services and functions, and to further increase satisfaction for both users and partner stores.

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Point Card can now be used at McDonald’s restaurants across Japan from June 1, 2017

Service starts June 1 at the approximately 2,900 McDonald’s restaurants across Japan

Tokyo, 2017-May-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — McDonald’s Japan and Rakuten, Inc. today (May 26, 2017 ) announced that the two companies have formed a partnership around the Rakuten Point Card service to improve customer convenience by enabling Rakuten Point Card cardholders to use their Rakuten Point Card at approximately 2,900 McDonald’s restaurants across Japan from June 1, 2017.

Collaboration between McDonald’s Japan and Rakuten began in December 2008 with the introduction of Rakuten’s e-money service, Rakuten Edy, at all McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, giving customers the opportunity to enjoy a wider variety of payments methods beyond cash and allowing the restaurants to provide a quicker and smoother service. Through the new partnership, customers who present their Rakuten Point Card or their Rakuten Point Card app when paying at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan can earn one Rakuten Super Point for every 100 yen (tax included) spent. Rakuten Super Points can be used in the various Rakuten Group services as well as for payment at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan and other partner stores.

Through the partnership, the two companies aim to further improve convenience for customers by giving them the chance to experience the fun and simplicity of using and earning Rakuten Super Points whenever they visit McDonald’s restaurants in Japan.

To commemorate this service partnership, a campaign will be held in which customers who use their Rakuten Point Card at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan on weekdays between June 1 and June 30 will receive five times the regular Rakuten Super Points. Customers will also be able to receive an original “McDonald’s Rakuten Point Card” for free at McDonald’s restaurants across Japan from June 1.

In addition, McDonald’s Japan plans to incorporate a Rakuten Point Card function into its official McDonald’s Japan app by this summer.

McDonald’s Japan and Rakuten will continue to strive to offer more convenient services and improve customer satisfaction.

Service Outline

1. Use and earn Rakuten Super Points at approximately 2,900 McDonald’s restaurants across Japan
Start of service: June 1, 2017
Participating restaurants: All approximately 2,900 McDonald’s restaurants in Japan
Details: Present your Rakuten Point Card or Rakuten Point Card app when paying at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan to earn one Rakuten Super Point for every 100 yen (tax included) spent. Rakuten Super Points can be used in the various Rakuten Group services as well as for payment at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan and other partner stores.

2. McDonald’s Weekday 5x Point Campaign
Campaign period: From 00:00 on June 1, 2017 until 23:59 on June 30, 2017
Campaign website: https://point.rakuten.co.jp/rpointcard/campaign/mcdonalds/spotevents/20170601
Details: Present your Rakuten Point Card or Rakuten Point Card app when paying at any McDonald’s restaurant in Japan during the campaign period to earn five times the regular Rakuten Super Points for every 100 yen (tax included) spent.

3. Free McDonald’s Rakuten Point Card offered at all restaurants
Start of offering: June 1, 2017
Details: Customers can receive an original McDonald’s Rakuten Point Card for free at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan.
*Offer valid while stocks last.

About Rakuten Point Card
Rakuten Point Card is a service that enables users to use and earn Rakuten Super Points by showing the card or barcode displayed on the smartphone app when shopping at affiliated stores or utilizing affiliated services. Rakuten Super Points can be used on the various services of the Rakuten Group, in addition to other services and stores, such as at the approximately 2,900 McDonald’s restaurants in Japan, as well as supermarkets, department stores, restaurants, and gas stations nationwide.

About McDonald’s Japan
Since opening its first restaurant in Ginza in 1971, McDonald’s Japan strives every day to provide customers with the best restaurant experience possible. With a mission to be its customers’ favorite place and way to eat & drink, the company follows the principles of QSC&V (Quality, Service, Cleanliness, and Value) that are the rules for success in the restaurant business, as advocated by the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc. Currently, McDonald’s Japan runs approximately 2,900 restaurants throughout the country’s 47 prefectures, and serves an average of around 1.3 billion customers a year. Aiming to be the world’s best food product management system, with uncompromising quality management, the pursuit of cleanliness in operations, and the practice of sincere service as its motto, McDonald’s Japan provides customers with a pleasant space, and works to create restaurants that customers will feel as a “FUN PLACE TO GO.”

About Rakuten
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world. Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 20 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Louis Vuitton presented 2018 Cruise Collection Kyoto in Japan

Louis Vuitton presented 2018 Cruise Collection Kyoto in Japan

 

Paris, 2017-May-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — After Palm Springs in 2015 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Louis Vuitton this year headed to Kyoto in Japan to present its Cruise Collection. Expressing the spirit of travel and being on the road, the 2018 Cruise Collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton Creative Director for Women’s Collections, fuses fashion, nature and architecture.

To present a 2018 Cruise Collection, Louis Vuitton selected an extraordinary setting that bridges urban and nature, nestled in a hidden valley.  With a blend of exoticism and modernity, the Miho museum designed by architect I. M. Pei in 1997 in Shigaraki, to the southwest of Kyoto in a luscious surrounding forest, hosted a fashion show for the first time in its history.

Nicolas Ghesquière opened a new chapter for the Maison with a collection that pays tribute to designer Kansaï Yamamoto, who inspired an entire generation of Japanese designers to present their creations in France.

Modern and traditional…Western and Oriental…the clothes evoke the question of evolution. The pieces recall the samurai with figurative engraving, ceremonial dress, martial arts uniforms, the dramaturgy of Kurosawa films or the distinctive melancholy of Kitano’s movies.

Pantsuits and architectural tunics feature designs inspired by the paintings of Kokusai. Interwoven jersey and leather sweaters call to mind the armor of Japanese warriors. Japanese cultural references include evening dresses gleaming with Noh theater gold, while handbags and clutches are decorated with Kabuki masks.

Contact:

LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton
22, avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris – France
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 13 22 22
Fax: +33 (0)1 44 13 22 23

Source: LVMH

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Toys“R”Us unifies its Japan, Greater China and Southeast Asia businesses

WAYNE, NJ and TOYKO, JAPAN, 2017-Apr-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Toys“R”Us, Inc. today (April 11, 2017) announced that it has entered into an agreement to unify its Toys“R”Us, Japan business with its Toys“R”Us business in Greater China and Southeast Asia, a joint venture between Toys“R”Us, Inc. and Fung Retailing Limited. Under this agreement, Toys“R”Us, Japan, which operates 160 stores in the country, will become part of Toys“R”Us, Asia Ltd. The combined business will now be approximately 85 percent owned by Toys“R”Us, Inc. and approximately 15 percent owned by Fung Retailing.

Toys“R”Us Asia Ltd and its subsidiaries operate 223 stores in Greater China and in the Southeast Asia markets, which includes Toys“R”Us stores in Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, and licenses an additional 34 stores in the Philippines and Macau. Andre Javes, President, Toys“R”Us, Asia Pacific, will continue to oversee all operations of the combined businesses, as well as Toys“R”Us, Australia.

“This expansion marks another milestone for Toys“R”Us as a global company,” said Dave Brandon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “The businesses are highly complementary with regards to markets, products and technology, and we believe that the strategic decision to consolidate them will allow us to streamline operations and accelerate innovation to continue to deliver a world-class experience for our customers in Asia. We look forward to working more closely with Fung Retailing, our trusted and valued business partner, as we further our mission to be the best toy and baby products retail company for the world.”

The Chairman of the Fung Group, Dr. Victor K. Fung said, “We have been involved with Toys“R”Us in Asia since 1985 and are pleased to expand our partnership to include Japan. Toys“R”Us is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and our goals for the combined business are to leverage the synergies between the businesses and delight a new generation of consumers with significant purchasing power across the region.”

The combined company will be headquartered in Hong Kong, while a regional office will continue to operate in Kawasaki, Japan, where Toys“R”Us, Japan is based.

About Toys“R”Us, Japan
Toys“R”Us, Japan, a subsidiary of Toys“R”Us, Inc. employs approximately 6,600 associates in Japan. The company currently operates 160 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide (as of April, 2017), as well as the Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Online Store (www.toysrus.co.jp), carrying quality products from trusted domestic and international manufacturers.
Toys“R”Us-Japan, Ltd. www.toysrus.co.jp/corporate/CSfCompany.jsp#
Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Store Locations www2.toysrus.co.jp/store
Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Official Facebook facebook.com/toysrusjp/facebook.com/babiesrusjp
Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Official Twitter twitter.com/toysrus_jp / twitter.com/babiesrus_jp
Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Official Instagram www.instagram.com/toysrus_jp/
Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Official LINE line.me/ti/p/@toysrus_jp

About Fung Retailing Limited
The retailing businesses of privately-held Fung Retailing Limited extend from Greater China to Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines through a combined network of over 2,700 stores. They include stores operated separately and independently by publicly-listed Convenience Retail Asia Limited (SEHK:00831) and Trinity Limited (SEHK:00891), as well as the privately-held Branded lifestyle Holding Limited, Fung Kids (Holdings) Limited, Toys“R”Us (Asia) Limited and Suhyang Networks Company Limited. Fung Retailing employs over 16,000 staff, and its turnover exceeded US$1.85 billion in 2015.

About Toys“R”Us, Inc.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 883 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam, and in 795 international stores and 254 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, the company provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Toys“R”Us, Inc. is headquartered in Wayne, NJ, and has an annual workforce of approximately 60,000 employees worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Since 1992, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys“R”Us, Inc., has donated more than $130 million in grants to children’s charities. For more information, visit Toysrusinc.com or follow @ToysRUsNews on Twitter. Follow Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.

Contact:

1 (973) 617-5900
Press@toysrus.com

Source: Toys“R”Us, Inc.

JAPAN: Rakuten Umaimono Park opens store at Kobo Park Miyagi

Selling nine gourmet items that are popular orders on Rakuten Ichiba, including confectionary exclusive to the stadium

Tokyoy, 2017-Apr-04 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. and Rakuten Baseball, Inc. today (April 3, 2017) announced that the “Rakuten Umaimono Park,” a store selling popular gourmet items from Rakuten Ichiba, will be opened at Kobo Park Miyagi on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. This will mark the first time for Rakuten to establish a permanent store at Kobo Park Miyagi.

The Rakuten Umaimono Park will offer a total of nine popular Rakuten Ichiba gourmet items carefully selected from around Japan. The menu includes the “Black Wagyu 100% Demi-cheese Hamburg Don,” which was developed specifically for the Rakuten Umaimono Park by Saison Boucher, a store specializing in top quality wagyu beef, the irresistible “Yamitsuki Juicy Fried Chicken” supplied by Suigo no Toriyasan, which uses poultry that has won the Rakuten Ichiba’s Gourmet Grand Prize in the meat section for two years running, and “Shopping Panda Cookies,” which will be sold exclusively at the Rakuten Umaimono Park and arose out of collaboration between popular confectionary store Aijyo-Sengen and “Shopping Panda,” Rakuten’s popular character.

Additionally, discount coupons that can be used on Rakuten Ichiba will be handed out to customers who buy goods at the Rakuten Umaimono Park.

Under its “ballpark concept,” Rakuten Baseball is aiming to create a highly entertaining stadium where families can enjoy themselves not only at baseball games but on days when there are no games being played as well. In 2016 it opened various facilities such as a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and a dome-shaped events facility known as “Eagles Dome.” Establishing the Rakuten Umaimono Park is another part of this project.

Through this project, Rakuten and Rakuten Baseball aim to make Kobo Park Miyagi more enjoyable for local residents, and further vitalize and develop the region.

Overview of the Rakuten Umaimono Park
URL: https://r10.to/umaimonopark
Location: Kobo Park Miyagi (https://www.rakuteneagles.jp/en/stadium/access/)
Next to the Eagles Dome on the third base side of Kobo Park Miyagi, 2-11-6 Miyagino, Miyagino-ku, Sendai, Miyagi

Days of operation: Days when the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are playing home games
For details see: https://www.rakuteneagles.jp/game/calendar

Gourmet items available:
– Black Wagyu 100% Demi-cheese Hamburg Don (merchant: top quality wagyu beef specialty store Saison Boucher)
– Mega-mori Niku no Sankan-ou (merchant: top quality wagyu beef specialty store Saison Boucher)
– Pururun Offal Salt Yakisoba (merchant: Shokufukutei)
– Yamitsuki Juicy Fried Chicken (merchant: Suigo no Toriyasan)
– Devil Chicken Curry (merchant: LaLa Curry)
– Family Popcorn (merchant: Fudge Concierge)
– Seasonal Gelato (merchant: Dolce Gelato Honten)
– Tenshi no Cookie Bar Cheese & Rich Chocolate Brownie (merchant: Tenshi no Okurimono Patisserie)
– Kobo Park Exclusive Shopping Panda Cookies (merchant: Aijyo-Sengen)

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

UNIQLO upgrades its uniqlo.com online store in Japan

Berlin, Germany, 2017-Mar-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — UNIQLO today (2017.03.16) announces that it has upgraded its uniqlo.com online store in Japan. The new site stocks 22,710 items for spring and summer alone, more than any of UNIQLO’s physical stores around the world. An intuitive, thumb-based user interface makes shopping by smartphone more enjoyable, and customers can request home delivery or opt to pick merchandise up from a UNIQLO store or convenience store.

As well as offering sizes in everything from XS to XXL through 4XL, the site provides designs, colors, and patterns not otherwise available at UNIQLO stores in Japan and merchandise that is typically sold only abroad. In addition, there is a more extensive range of semi-tailored shirts and jackets for men and women, with 1,183 variations for men’s shirts and 440 variations for women’s shirts, and 2,112 variations in total for men’s and women’s jackets.

The revamped online store offers a host of other advantages. Shop by Look mixes and matches items so it is easier for customers to choose coordinates, with special discounts available over a campaign running from March 24 through 30. An image search feature helps customers to find items that are similar to those they see in magazines or elsewhere online. Customers can also register sizes for themselves, family members and friends so it is easier to choose the right merchandise on future visits.

Customers can choose to collect online purchases at UNIQLO stores, where they can try items on and return them instantly if they do not fit. Alternatively, items can be picked up around the clock from over 43,000 branches of Seven-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson convenience stores across Japan. Customers who prefer to shop in person will be able to check the availability of items at their closest UNIQLO stores before visiting.

As part of the revamped uniqlo.com, a service now applies to all merchandise and stores where customers can choose an item from their mobile if out of stock at a store, then pay at their local store and have the item delivered or ready for pick up wherever desired. For orders made by noon, shoppers residing in the Honshu and Shikoku regions can in most cases designate when they want delivery, effective from the subsequent day.

Source: FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.

The latest generation Amazon Fire TV Stick now available in the UK, Germany, and Japan

The latest generation Amazon Fire TV Stick now available in the UK, Germany, and Japan

 

SEATTLE, 2017-Feb-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Amazon has announced that the latest generation Amazon Fire TV Stick is now available for customers in the UK, Germany, and Japan. Read the press release announcing Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote in the UK: www.amazon.co.uk/pr, Germany: www.amazon-presse.de, and the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote in Japan: www.amazon.co.jp/press.

“Our customers love Fire TV, and we’re thrilled to introduce the latest generation Fire TV Stick in the UK, Germany, and Japan,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President, Amazon Fire TV. “Since its recent launch in the US, the all-new Fire TV Stick has quickly become a best-seller on Amazon.com and received more than 35,000 five-star reviews. With our new content-forward UI, powerful voice search, and a growing collection of movies, TV episodes, and apps, Fire TV helps customers easily find and enjoy their favorite TV content.”

The all-new Fire TV Stick is 30 percent faster than the previous best-selling version, has a powerful quad-core processor for streaming high-quality video, and offers access to thousands of apps, games, movies, and TV shows. Customers in the UK and Germany can also use the included Alexa Voice Remote to get the news and weather, check their commute, get sports scores, create shopping lists, play music, and more. With the included voice remote, customers in Japan can use their voice to search for their favorite programming and control playback of Amazon Video content.

With the new Fire TV Stick, customers have access to a completely redesigned interface that makes finding what to watch even easier and more enjoyable. Fire TV Stick offers a new cinematic experience, delivering video trailers and content screenshots to help customers access the content they want. Fire TV also shows you the best viewing options – stream, rent, or buy – to help you choose content based on convenience and value. Finding and enjoying apps and games is also easy with a customizable app list on the home screen.

The all-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is available for pre-order now in the UK and Germany, and will ship to customers starting in April. The latest generation Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote is available for pre-order now in Japan and will begin shipping to customers April 6.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

Media Hotline:

206-266-7180
Amazon-pr@amazon.com
www.amazon.com/pr

Source: Amazon.com, Inc.

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Lawson, Inc. and Save On Corp. swap franchising rights in Japan

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2017-Feb-02 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson, Inc. and Save On Corp. have signed a mega-franchise contract in Gumma, Tochigi, Niigata, Saitama, and Chiba prefectures.

About the mega-franchise agreement:
At the end of December 2016, Save On operated 503 SAVE ON convenience stores. Save On has agreed to gradually change the outlets into LAWSON brand stores starting from summer in 2017 throughout 2018. Following the shift, Save On will operate LAWSON stores in the five prefectures as a mega franchisee of the LAWSON brand. From August 2012, 82 SAVE ON convenience stores in Toyama, Nagano, Ibaraki, Fukushima, and Yamagata prefectures had gradually converted into LAWSON brand stores.

Going forward, Save On and Lawson have committed to further strive to operate stores that customers really appreciate.

Overview of Save On Corp. and Lawson, Inc.

– Save On Corp.
(1) Company name: Save On Corp.
(2) Main areas of business operation: Development of the convenience store franchise chain
(3) Business location: 900 Kamesatomachi, Maebashi, Gunma
(4) Name and title of representative director: Minoru Hirata, President and CEO, Representative Director
(5) Capital: 392 million yen
(6) End of fiscal year: The end of February
– Lawson, Inc.
(1) Company name: Lawson, Inc.
(2) Main areas of business operation: Development of the Lawson convenience store franchise chain
(3) Business location: East Tower, Gate City Osaki, 1-11-2 Osaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
(4) Name and title of representative director: Genichi Tamatsuka, Chairman and CEO, Representative Director
(5) Capital: 58,506 million yen
(6) End of fiscal year: The end of February

Source: Lawson Inc.

UNIQLO to launches convenience store pickup service at Seven Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson stores throughout Japan

Berlin, Germany, 2017-Jan-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — UNIQLO, in collaboration with FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc., will launch in spring a convenience store pickup service for UNIQLO products at FamilyMart and Lawson stores nationwide. Together with a similar service already available at Seven-Eleven stores1, this expansion will allow UNIQLO customers to pick up their purchases at any of approximately 43,000 convenience store locations2 throughout Japan.

The convenience store pickup service enables customers of the UNIQLO.com online store to pick up merchandise 24-hours a day3 at any location convenient for the customer, such as near home or work, or a business-trip destination. The service is ideal for customers who are too busy to go to UNIQLO stores, often not at home to receive deliveries, or who want to directly collect purchases while on a business trip or traveling.

UNIQLO is working to make shopping easier and enjoyable for customers, including expanding the lineup of products available through the UNIQLO.com online store, improving the usability of the UNIQLO app, and offering semi-custom products. Going forward, UNIQLO will develop services to make the buying experience more fun and convenient.

Notes
1. Pickup service at Seven-Eleven stores started in February 2016.
2. Stores offering the pickup service: Approximately 19,000 Seven-Eleven stores,
12,000 FamilyMart stores, and 12,000 Lawson stores (as of January 2017)
3. Operating hours vary by store.

Source: FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.

Prada further expands in Japan with the opening of new store in Narita International Airport

Milan, 2016-Dec-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Prada strengthens its presence in Japan by opening a new space inside Narita International Airport’s Terminal 2.

Occupying a total surface area of some 200 square metres, the store houses the women’s and men’s leather goods and accessories collections.

The façade, on three sides, is clad in black Marquinia marble, framing the light boxes and, on the two opposite sides, the two large entrances.

The interior is divided in three areas defined by the signature black-and-white marble chequered flooring – a legacy of Prada’s identity worldwide – and deep green watercolour-painted canvas wall covering into which green marble shelving and glass display cabinets are set. A sitting area with elegant green velvet sofas and polished-steel and glass display counters complete the atmosphere.

Contact:
Prada Press Office
Tel. +39.02.541921
e-mail: ufficio.stampa@prada.com

Source: Prada

UNIQLO to debut HEATTECH Ultra Warm innerwear at stores in Japan and at uniqlo.com

UNIQLO to debut HEATTECH Ultra Warm innerwear at stores in Japan and at uniqlo.com

 

Berlin, Germany, 2016-Dec-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — UNIQLO today (2016.12.08) announces that it will debut HEATTECH Ultra Warm innerwear at stores in Japan and at the uniqlo.com online store on December 19. UNIQLO developed this pinnacle of its HEATTECH line for people who live in frigid locations or who need to spend long times working outdoors in sub-zero temperatures.

The new line represents a major advance in the cold weather performance of HEATTECH, which has been pivotal to the LifeWear clothing range to deliver outstanding everyday comfort.

HEATTECH Ultra Warm is around 1.5 times warmer1 than HEATTECH Extra Warm and about 2.25 times warmer2 than regular HEATTECH. HEATTECH employs a special thread structure to trap warm air and increase heat retention as more air is stored. The enhanced performance of ULTRA WARM stems from a special knit design that differs from those of its previous HEATTECH counterparts. This design thickens the fabric and lengthens the fibers of the brushed lining.

Air pockets between the fibers create a large air layer within the fabric, whose raised fibers offer instant warmth as soon as you put the garment on. It is also comfortable when on the move even in the coldest climates, stretching and absorbing moisture. The fabric is soft and gentle on the skin to optimize comfort.

Notes:

1.The calculation compares UNIQLO offerings and is based on the clo value, which measures the thermal resistance of a garment. We calculated that HEATTECH Ultra Warm is 40% warmer than HEATTECH Extra Warm for Men’s and 60% for Women’s. Testing was based on the ASTM D 1518-85.

2.The calculation compares UNIQLO offerings and is based on the clo value, which measures the thermal resistance of a garment. We calculated that HEATTECH Ultra Warm is 125% warmer than HEATTECH innerwear for Men’s and 125% for Women’s. Testing was based on the ASTM D 1518-85.

HEATTECH Ultra Warm Lineup

Men’s

Item Number of
colors and
patterns
Sizes Availability Launch date
(in Japan)
Pricing
(in Japan)
New HEATTECH Ultra Warm Crewneck T-Shirt 4 XS-4XL All stores 12/19 ¥1,990
New HEATTECH Ultra Warm Tights 2 XS-4XL All stores 12/19 ¥1,990

Note: XS and XXL-4XL available online only. Prices in Japan only, excluding consumption tax.

Women’s

Item Number of
colors and
patterns
Sizes Availability Launch date
(in Japan)
Pricing
(in Japan)
New HEATTECH Ultra Warm Crewneck T-Shirt 4 XS-3XL All stores 12/19 ¥1,990
New HEATTECH Ultra Warm Leggings 2 XS-3XL All stores 12/19 ¥1,990

Note: XS and XXL-3XL available online only. Prices in Japan only, excluding consumption tax.

Source: Fast Retailing

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JAPAN: Rakuten, ACSL and NTT DOCOMO carried out demonstration experiment of drone-based delivery system utilizing LTE

Tokyo, 2016-Nov-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc., Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory Ltd. (ACSL) and NTT DOCOMO, INC. today (November 22, 2016) announced that the three companies have successfully carried out a demonstration experiment of a drone-based delivery system utilizing LTE in the National Strategic Special Zone of Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture.

In the latest experiment, the delivery of cargo using a drone was carried out at the Inage Seaside Park in Chiba City and adjacent sea area. The experiment, carried out as a pre-cursor to future long-distance delivery by drones, demonstrated that an order placed from a smartphone was correctly received by the drone-based delivery system, and that remote control via the LTE network can be conducted in a stable manner.

Based on the experience gained from the “Sora Raku” drone-based delivery service launched in April 2016, Rakuten has made further improvements to the product ordering app for users and the drone dashboard for controlling the drone. With these improvements combined with the new model of Rakuten’s “Tenku” delivery drone, which features a number of performance enhancements including water-resistance, Rakuten has been able to develop a more advanced drone-based delivery solution.

ACSL has newly developed the platform airframe, known as the “PF1,” which is capable of long-distance flight with fully autonomous control. The “PF1” has been designed with future flight over the sea and populated areas in mind, and as such has been equipped with a parachute to slow the speed of the fall in an emergency, offering a greater level of safety than conventional drones. The “PF1” served as the base of the new “Tenku” drone.

NTT DOCOMO has been carrying out various demonstration experiments with its Cellular Drone™  which utilizes the cell phone LTE network as part of its “DOCOMO Drone Project.” Utilizing its knowledge and mobile technologies, NTT DOCOMO mapped out flight routes that enable stable communication and also monitored the impact of airborne cell phones on the cell phone network at the ground level.

Going forward, the three companies aim to realize a drone-based delivery system for use in urban areas through their work with the Chiba City Drone Delivery Subcommittee.

*Cellular Drone is a trademark of NTT DOCOMO, INC.

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Alibaba Cloud announces the opening of four new data centers in the Middle East, Europe, Australia and Japan

New facilities in the Middle East, Europe, Australia and Japan will provide comprehensive cloud service offerings, enabling business innovation globally

Hangzhou, China, 2016-Nov-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, today (November 21, 2016) announced the opening of four new data centers by the end of 2016 in the Middle East (Dubai), Europe, Australia and Japan. As a major milestone of Alibaba Cloud’s global expansion, the new centers will boost its data center network to 14 locations, covering key economic centers around the world. The data center in the Middle East, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, commenced initial operations today.

Alibaba Cloud’s expansion will provide customers worldwide with improved latency and greater access to its diverse offerings, including data storage and analytics services, enterprise-level middleware, and cloud security services. Strengthening Alibaba Cloud’s position as a major global cloud provider, the new data centers will support Alibaba Cloud’s growing client base beyond the current 2.3 million.

Through a stronger network of facilities and strategic partnerships, Alibaba Cloud also plans to drive a globalization of innovation. The enhanced cloud capabilities make breakthrough innovation a real possibility with artificial intelligence, deep learning and data analytics.

“Alibaba Cloud has contributed significantly to China’s technology advancement, establishing critical commerce infrastructure to enable cross-border businesses, online marketplaces, payments, logistics, cloud computing and big data to work together seamlessly. We want to establish cloud computing as the digital foundation for the new global economy using the opportunities of cloud computing to empower businesses of all sizes across all markets,” said Simon Hu, President of Alibaba Cloud.

Evidence of the potential of Alibaba Cloud can be seen during the recently completed 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, where Alibaba Cloud technology supported all of Alibaba’s online marketplaces and facilitated a record-breaking 175,000 transactions per second during peak traffic spikes. The festival showcased the capabilities not only of the cloud, but also a number of other areas, such as virtual reality, thus helping to redefine technological boundaries.

“The four new data centers will further expand Alibaba Cloud’s global ecosystem and footprint, allowing us to meet the increasing demand for secure and scalable cloud computing services from businesses and industries worldwide. The true potential of data-driven digital transformation will be seen through globalization and the opportunities brought by the new global economy will become a reality,” said Ethan Yu, Vice President of Alibaba Group and General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Global.

Since its launch, Alibaba Cloud’s technologies have enabled all types of businesses globally, ranging from start-ups to multi-national companies, to benefit from the greater operational and cost efficiency that cloud computing can provide. The new facilities are based in four strategically important trading and economic centers to enable the ambitions to make it easy to do business anywhere. Each of the four will add significant value to the global network and expand horizons.

Middle East

Alibaba Cloud will be the first major global public cloud services provider to offer cloud services from a local data center in the Middle East. The opening of the Dubai Data Center is held in conjunction with YVOLV, a joint venture of Alibaba Cloud and Meraas Holdings, a Dubai-based holding company with a portfolio spanning across key economic sectors in the United Arab Emirates. YVOLV will support and drive Dubai’s Smart City vision by leveraging Alibaba Cloud’s sophisticated cloud computing technologies to create new applications and big-data tools for customers in the region.

Europe

To support enterprises in Europe, Alibaba Cloud will partner with Vodafone Germany to open its first data center in Europe. The center is co-located in Vodafone’s data facilities in Frankfurt, Germany, one of the leading technology hubs in Europe with a highly developed infrastructure supporting technological innovation. The facility is well positioned to meet the increasing demand for sophisticated cloud computing services as the region seeks to accelerate the upgrade of its digital infrastructure.

Australia

Extending its global footprint in the Asia-Pacific, Alibaba Cloud will open a new data center in Sydney, Australia by the end of 2016. Alibaba Cloud will bring its most popular cloud services in data storage and processing services, enterprise-level middleware, and cloud security services to the Australian market. A dedicated team will be based in Australia, and build up a cloud ecosystem with local technology partners to drive cloud and big-data business in the region.

Japan

The Japan Data Center, hosted by SB Cloud Corporation, a joint venture between Softbank and Alibaba Group, will provide Japanese enterprises with competitive and enhanced public cloud computing services from Alibaba Cloud. With the joint venture, Alibaba Cloud will further expand its cloud computing service platform by leveraging SoftBank’s extensive enterprise customer base in Japan.

About Alibaba Cloud

Established in September 2009, Alibaba Cloud (intl.aliyun.com), Alibaba Group’s cloud computing arm, develops highly scalable platforms for cloud computing and data management. It provides a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services to support growing enterprises worldwide, including sellers and other third-party customers and businesses participating in Alibaba Group’s online and mobile commerce ecosystem. Alibaba Cloud is a business of Alibaba Group.

Media Contacts:

Sindy Shi
Alibaba Group
+86 150 2192 5635
ruoyun.sry@alibaba-inc.com

Rachel Chan
Alibaba Group
+852 9400 0979
rachelchan@hk.alibaba-inc.com

Source: Alibaba Group

Customers can now pickup purchases from Rakuten’s online bookstore at Lawson stores across Japan

Tokyo, 2016-Nov-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. today (November 17, 2016) announced that it is collaborating with Lawson, Inc. on a pickup service that will allow customers to receive books, CDs, DVDs and other products purchased from Rakuten’s online bookstore, Rakuten Books, at Lawson convenience stores around Japan (11,922 stores as of the end of October 2016, excluding “Lawson Store 100” stores).

Customers who purchase products from Rakuten Books and select the convenience store pickup service as their chosen method of delivery will be able to pick up their products from their Lawson store of choice, such as a store close to their home or place of work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with free shipping*1. Additionally, customers can also pay for their goods at the store counter*2.

Rakuten Books has been offering a convenience store pickup service known as Rakuten Books @ Convenience Store Pickup since 2008, with the goal of broadening the product delivery methods available to customers and allowing them to use Rakuten Books’ services more conveniently*3. In response to customers’ diverse pickup requirements, in 2013 Rakuten Books began offering “Asu Raku,” a next-day delivery service for certain products and regions, and in 2015 it began offering an “Asu Raku” same-day delivery service. Now, by adding Lawson stores to the coverage of the Rakuten Books @ Convenience Store Pickup service, it will be even more convenient for customers nationwide to receive their goods.

Rakuten Books will continue to strive to enhance its services in order to provide its customers with ever more convenient services.

*1 In some cases there are size and weight restrictions. It is not possible to designate the date or the time.

*2 When using a payment-on-delivery method, a 265 yen (including tax) fee will also be applied to each order.

*3 Applications to pick up goods at Circle K and Sunkus stores stopped being accepted on September 28, 2016.

Overview of Rakuten Books’ product pickup service at Lawson stores

Details of service:
– When books, CDs and DVDs are purchased at Rakuten Books, the goods can be received and paid for (265 yen fee applies, including tax) at Lawson stores nationwide
– Goods can be picked up from the store from the evening of the second day after placing the order at the earliest (one day longer than express home delivery )
– Goods will be held in-store for one week

Utilization method:
1. Order an eligible product at Rakuten Books
2. When selecting the delivery (pickup) method, specify the Lawson store where you would like to pick up your goods
3. Present the printed ticket that can be acquired by inputting the inquiry number and authentication number included in the pickup e-mail from Rakuten Books into a Loppi multimedia terminal located in a Lawson store, or display the barcode that can be acquired from the pickup e-mail at the counter in the Lawson store
4. Receive your product

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

JAPAN: Rakuten Card offers easy, fast and secure way to make mobile payments with Apple Pay

Tokyo, 2016-Oct-26 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten Card Co., Ltd. today (October 25, 2016) brings its customers Apple Pay, an easy, fast and secure way to make mobile payments that is private and convenient with iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 throughout their day, including in transit, stores, apps and on the web*1.

Since launch in July 2005, Rakuten Card has rapidly gained popularity with key initiatives such as “No annual fees,” “High loyalty point rewards” and “Loyalty points for use on all Rakuten’s diverse services.” The 2015 Japanese Customer Satisfaction Index (JCSI) ranked Rakuten Card as No. 1 for customer satisfaction in the credit card category for the seventh year running. By offering customers Apple Pay, Rakuten Card will aim to continue to increase convenience for a broad range of customers.

Apple Pay is easy to set up and users will continue to receive rewards and benefits offered by their cards. Rakuten Card cardholders using their cards with Apple Pay will continue to enjoy the reward of one Rakuten Super Point for every 100 yen spent. To begin using Apple Pay, customers should update to the latest software for iOS, watchOS and macOS, available today as free updates.

To use Apple Pay In stores, tell the cashier you would like to pay with QUICPay, then simply place your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus near the contactless reader, and with the touch of a finger on Touch ID, the payment is complete. When paying with your Apple Watch Series 2, double-click the side button before holding it near the reader.

For Rakuten Card cardholders with the Mastercard and JCB brands, online shopping in apps and on websites accepting Apple Pay is as simple as the touch of a finger on Touch ID, so there’s no need to manually fill out lengthy account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information. They can also use Suica with their iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, and use their Rakuten Card with the Mastercard and JCB brands to recharge their Suica balance or purchase railway tickets with Apple Pay. When paying for goods and services on the go in apps or Safari, Apple Pay works with iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 and later. You can also use Apple Pay in Safari on any Mac introduced in or after 2012 with macOS Sierra and confirm the payment with iPhone 6 or later or Apple Watch.

Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. If your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch is ever lost, you can use Find My iPhone to put your device in Lost Mode to suspend Apple Pay, or you can wipe your device clean completely. You can also stop the ability to make payments with Apple Pay on iCloud.com.

When you use a credit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. When you use Apple Pay, your credit card number will not be shared with the merchant.

Rakuten Card will continue to work to introduce innovative and reliable new payment services that add to the range of convenient services offered to our cardholders.

For more information on Apple Pay, visit: http://www.apple.com/jp/apple-pay/

*1 Eligible cards: Rakuten Card, Rakuten Pink Card, Rakuten Gold Card, Rakuten Premium Card, Rakuten ANA Mileage Club Card, Rakuten Bank Card, Rakuten Card Academy, Rakuten Business Card, Rakuten Black Card, Vissel Kobe Official Supporters Card, Rakuten Eagles Card

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Apple to bring Apple Pay in Japan

San Francisco, 2016-Sep-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — Apple today (SEPTEMBER 7, 2016) announced that iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 will bring customers in Japan the ability to use Apple Pay, an easy, fast and secure way to pay for everything in their daily routines, beginning in October. Users can commute and pay for everyday items with Suica from JR East, and make convenient and private credit and prepaid card purchases in stores, apps and on the web with a single touch. Apple is also introducing support for transit in Japan with Maps in iOS 10, so commuters can easily find ride details, including fare breakdowns that automatically show Suica pricing right on their device, making their commute more seamless and simpler than ever.

Apple Pay is accepted anywhere Suica is available, so users can make quick everyday purchases and buy or reload a Suica card or commuter pass, all with their iPhone. Japan’s major financial brands will also support Apple Pay, so shoppers can make purchases in many of the country’s largest stores, at neighborhood shops and restaurants, and from their favorite online merchants.

“We are incredibly excited to bring iPhone 7 to customers in Japan so they can experience the magic of Apple Pay,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple Pay will transform your daily routine, from making your commute easier and more convenient than ever with Suica right on your iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2, to using your favorite cards to make secure and private purchases with a single touch.”

“As the world’s largest transit operator, JR East is committed to innovating so we can provide our customers across Japan the best service possible,” said Tetsuro Tomita, president and CEO of East Japan Railway. “For iPhone 7, we redesigned an entirely new experience from the ground up so our customers can enjoy the ease and security of using Apple Pay while commuting, in our app and in stores with Suica.”

iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 sold in Japan will support FeliCa Type-F NFC contactless technology, which is used every day for more than 160 million transactions across Japan.

When Maps launches support for transit in Japan with iOS 10 in October, Apple Pay users can map out and pay for their entire commute, including major train, subway, ferry and national bus lines, on their iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, based on updated fare and schedule information. If you have a Suica card added to Apple Pay and are planning a route that exceeds its balance, an alert will show it’s time to reload, and you can do so instantly, right on your device. Commuters can also follow carefully curated navigation instructions so it’s easy to get around Japan’s extensive underground tunnel networks.

Apple Pay will support many of the most popular Japanese credit and prepaid cards issued by AEON, Credit Saison, JCB, Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos, Orient Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Card, Toyota Finance, UC Cards and View Card, and carriers KDDI, NTT Docomo and Softbank, representing more than three-quarters of all credit card spending in Japan, with major global and domestic networks like American Express, Mastercard, JCB, iD and QUICPay. Users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by their cards.

Beginning in October, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 users will be able to make purchases in stores anywhere Suica, iD or QUICPay is accepted, encompassing nearly two-thirds of all transactions at Japan’s largest merchants. In addition to Apple Stores in Japan, leading retailers that will accept Apple Pay include convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Circle K, Family Mart, Lawson, Ministop and Sunkus, supermarkets such as AEON, APITA and PIAGO, gas stations including ENEOS and Esso Mobil General, retailers like BicCamera, Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Uniqlo, and favorite local brands such as JapanTaxi and Sukiya.

Online shopping in apps and on websites accepting Apple Pay is as simple as the touch of a finger with Touch ID, so there’s no need to manually fill out lengthy account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information. Your card number is kept private and not shared with the merchant. Online brands that will accept Apple Pay in Japan include BASE, Demae-Can, giftee, Jalan.net, JapanTaxi, minne and Toho Cinema.

When paying for goods and services on the go within apps or Safari, Apple Pay works with iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 and later. You can also use Apple Pay in Safari on any Mac introduced in or after 2012 running macOS Sierra, and confirm the payment with iPhone 6 or later or Apple Watch.

Security and privacy are at the core of Apple Pay. If your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch is ever lost, you can use Find My iPhone to put your device in Lost Mode to suspend Apple Pay, or you can wipe your device clean completely. You can also stop the ability to make payments with Apple Pay on iCloud.com. If you lose your device, your Suica balance is recoverable.

When you use a credit or prepaid card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Press Contacts:

Katie Clark Alsadder
Apple
kclarkalsadder@apple.com
(408) 974-9976

Nao Yanagisawa
Apple
nao_yanagisawa@apple.com
+81 3 4345 2430

Apple Media Helpline
media.help@apple.com
(408) 974-2042

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Apple to bring Apple Pay in Japan
Apple to bring Apple Pay in Japan

 

Source: Apple

CBRE announces the appointment of Eiji Sakaguchi President and CEO for Japan

Los Angeles, 2016-Aug-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — CBRE announced today that Eiji Sakaguchi has been appointed President and CEO of CBRE’s business in Japan, effective October 3. In this role, Mr. Sakaguchi will oversee all of CBRE’s Japan operations, encompassing 10 offices and 1,200 employees. He will report to Ben Duncan, North Asia President of CBRE, who has also been serving as CEO for Japan.

Mr. Sakaguchi is a seasoned industry veteran with over 26 years of real estate experience and an extensive financial background. He is widely recognized as one of the most prominent real estate professionals in Japan.

He joins CBRE from Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities where he was managing director and head of Real Estate. While there, Mr. Sakaguchi oversaw a range of successful asset transactions, as well as private and public capital market activities. Before joining Morgan Stanley in 2001, he spent 11 years at Mitsui Fudosan, where he held key roles in asset and property management, leasing, investment and development activity.  Mr. Sakaguchi is a graduate of Hitotsubashi University with a Bachelor’s degree in law.

“Sakaguchi-san is a passionate leader who has outstanding business acumen and understands and appreciates the culture of our business,” said Ben Duncan, North Asia President of CBRE. “I’m very excited to have Sakaguchi-san lead the next phase of our development across Japan drawing on his decades of experience and the breadth of his relationships.”

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2015 revenue).  The Company has more than 70,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through more than 400 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide.  CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services.  Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

Official Twitter account for Japan: @cbrejapan

MEDIA CONTACT:
Robert McGrath
Senior Director, Global Media Relations
+1 212 9848267

Source: CBRE