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 This designation was rescinded in July 2016, and the town is starting to regain its former liveliness as its residents continue to return home.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.

###

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.

Lawson starts accepting ATM transactions using JCB, Visa and MasterCard issued outside of Japan

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2016-Sep-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson will start accepting in-store ATM transactions using JCB, Visa and MasterCard that have been issued outside of Japan from Wednesday, September 28, 2016. The gradual introduction of this new service will be operated and monitored by consolidated subsidiary Lawson ATM Networks Co., Ltd.

Starting on September 28, customers will be able to use overseas-issued JCB cards to withdraw Japanese yen at any of Lawson’s 11,414 ATM machines (end August 2016), and overseas-issued Visa cards to withdraw cash at 2,327 new-style ATM machines. Users of overseas-issued MasterCard will also be able to withdraw Japanese yen at new-style ATM machines starting Tuesday, October 25, 2016.

Use of overseas-issued credit cards at Lawson Japan

Card type Launch date Compatible ATMs Number of ATMs
(end August 2016)
JCB Wednesday, September 28, 2016 All ATMs 11,414
Visa Wednesday, September 28, 2016 New-style ATMs* 2,327
MasterCard Tuesday, October 25, 2016 New-style ATMs* 2,327
China Union Pay Already in use All ATMs 11,414

*Lawson is currently upgrading its ATM machines at a pace of 1,500 to 2,000 ATMs per year. At this rate, the upgrade will be completed by 2020.

Lawson ATM Networks sets a single-use withdrawal limit for overseas-issued credit cards of 50,000 yen. The company also consistently monitors transactions to detect any abnormal activity or suspicious card use.
Other Lawson inbound tourism promotion measures

  • ◆Accept purchases via credit card such as China Union Pay, Visa and MasterCard at all Lawson stores
  • ◆Facilitate electronic payment via Alipay at nine Lawson stores in major airport and hotel locations.
  • ◆Offer a tax-free service at 60 stores, rising to over 100 stores by end fiscal 2016.
  • ◆Print product name in English on the packaging of onigiri rice balls, sushi rolls and private brand ‘Lawson Select’ items.
  • ◆Set up an official account on Chinese Weibo and WeChat SNS to provide customers with the latest information on Lawson.

Foreign customers visit Lawson stores for a variety of reasons and so the amount of money they spend also varies. Some want to buy sweets and daily goods as souvenirs to take back home, while others want to buy drinks, tea or milk to consume in Japan. Offering foreign visitors more payment options along with a cash withdrawal facility will make their Lawson shopping experience more convenient. Lawson is working hard to establish and extend a variety of services across its nationwide network of over 12,000 stores to help ensure international visitors have a comfortable stay in Japan.

Source: Lawson

Lawson will offer full support to disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in Kumamoto

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2016-Apr-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson, Inc. would like to extend its deepest sympathies to those who suffered terrible loss in the devastating 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. We sincerely hope for the speedy recovery of the affected regions and will offer our full support to disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in Kumamoto.

Lawson is keen to do all that it can to help, and fulfil its responsibility as a part of the social infrastructure that serves our communities. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry lists convenience stores as key infrastructure along with electricity and gas supply on its earthquake recovery homepage. The government has urged all convenience store chains to reopen their stores to help ensure a stable supply of food products to quake-damaged areas. We have also noted that more people are taking refuge in convenience store parking areas because they feel safer there when aftershocks come.

Convenience stores were first recognized as Japan’s “fourth infrastructure arm” after gas, water and electricity following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan since convenience stores not only sell food and drink, but a broad range of daily conveniences including batteries, toilet paper, underwear, and other essential daily items. While many stores are unable to open for business in emergency situations, convenience store franchise owners do their utmost to stay open, regardless of any damage they have themselves incurred, and, together with the headquarters, do everything possible to use their unique manufacturing and distribution systems to ensure a stable supply of products. Another key role for Japanese convenience stores is to utilize their manufacturing and distribution systems to deliver emergency supplies to areas affected by natural disaster as soon as possible.

This time, 80 of Lawson’s 141 stores in Kumamoto prefecture were forced to close on the day of the first earthquake on April 16, 2016 due to power cuts and severe damage to store shelves. However, all stores felt a strong sense of responsibility to reopen as soon as possible so they could be of service to local communities. As a result, nearly all stores were back in operation within two days on April 18, 2016. Our local stores used all means at their disposal to ensure as many different products reached their shelves as possible, alleviating product shortages in areas where the earthquakes had disrupted  traffic networks and cut off regular distribution routes and channels.

Lawson’s Kumamoto earthquake aid measures
Personnel support:

  • After April 16, a total of 200 Lawson headquarter staff from across Japan are being dispatched to the quake-hit areas to offer wide ranging support to local stores; from clearing up debris in damaged stores to delivering products safely to stores that can operate and helping to run the stores themselves.
  • Lawson’s top management went immediately to Kumamoto to provide support and encourage local store owners and staff.

Supply of products to stores:

  • Lawson employees used passenger cars to deliver products to local stores after problems occurred at the Kumamoto delivery center.
  • Delivered alternative products from the Fukuoka and Saga delivery centers.
  • Supplied stores in Kumamoto prefecture with rice balls made in Yamaguchi prefecture.
  • Transported 18,000 bakery items manufactured in factories in Chiba and Saitama by air from Tokyo’s domestic Haneda Airport. Lawson’s dispatched personnel then delivered the bakery items directly to stores.

Emergency food aid:
Between April 15-18, Lawson delivered the following products to the areas affected by the Kumamoto earthquake. The goods were distributed through local municipal organizations.

Water 1,200 bottles
Pot noodles 11,000 meals
Rice balls 1,900 items
Lunchboxes 100 items
Sushi 100 packs
Drinks 3,500 bottles/cans
Bananas 600 items
Oranges 1,000 items
Disposable chopsticks 11,000 pairs
Plastic bags 1,000 items

Financial donation:
Lawson began collecting donations on April 16 via in-store collection boxes, the Loppi multi-media terminals, and the company website. The donated money is being put to good use in the quake-affected areas through the Japan Red Cross Society.

Lawson, Inc. announces executive changes

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2016-Apr-04 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson, Inc. announced the following executive personnel changes, which were unanimously approved at the Board of Directors’ meeting held on March 28, 2016, and will become effective June 1, 2016. Lawson has decided to appoint Genichi Tamatsuka as the Chief Executive Officer and Sadanobu Takemasu as the Chief Operating Officer as part of the company’s plan to strengthen management systems as the Group’s market scope and presence expands. Nominated changes to Members of the Board were also approved. They will become effective following the adoption of resolutions at the 41st Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 24, 2016.

■Personnel changes

(Effective June 1, 2016)

 

Members of the Board

 

Genichi Tamatsuka
New Position: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Representative Director
Current Position: President and Chief Executive Officer
Representative Director

 

Sadanobu Takemasu
New Position: President and Chief Operating Officer
Representative Director
Current Position: Senior Executive Vice President
Representative Director

 

■Personnel changes

(Effective following the adoption of the resolution at the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders on May 24, 2016)

 

Members of the Board

 

Nominations for new Members of the Board

 

Keiko Hayashi
Current Position: President & Chief Executive Officer
DoCLASSE CO.,LTD

 

Kazunori Nishio
Current Position: Division COO, Retail Division
Mitsubishi Corporation

 

Retiring Members of the Board

 

Reiko Yonezawa
Current Position: Chairman, The R Co., Ltd.

 

Takehiko Kakiuchi
Current Position: Executive Vice Presidents
Group CEO, Living Essentials Group
Mitsubishi Corporation

 

Corporate Auditors

 

Nomination for new Corporate Auditor

 

Toshio Takahashi
Current Position: Standing Corporate Auditor
SAP Japan Co., Ltd.
Retiring on May 23, 2016

 

Retiring Corporate Auditor

 

Shinichi Hokari
Current Position: Standing Corporate Auditor (Outside)

 

Reference:

 

Directors and Coporate Auditors (effective May 24, 2016)

 

1. Board of Directors (8 members)

President and Chief Executive Officer
Representative Director
Genichi Tamatsuka
Senior Executive Vice President
Representative Director
Sadanobu Takemasu
Member of the Board Masakatsu Gounai
Member of the Board (Outside) Emi Osono
Member of the Board (Outside) Yutaka Kyoya
Member of the Board (Outside) Sakie Akiyama
Member of the Board (Outside) Keiko Hayashi
Member of the Board (Outside) Kazunori Nishio

 

The independent officers will be Emi Osono, Sakie Akiyama and Keiko Hayashi

 

2. Corporate Auditors (4 members)

Standing Corporate Auditor Atsuhiko Seki
Standing Corporate Auditor (Outside) Toshio Takahashi
Corporate Auditor (Outside) Tetsuo Ozawa
Corporate Auditor (Outside) Eiko Tsujiyama

 

The independent officers will be Toshio Takahashi, Tesuo Ozawa, and Eiko Tsujiyama.

 

Directors and Coporate Auditors (effective as of June 1, 2016)

 

1. Board of Directors (8 members)

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Representative Director
Genichi Tamatsuka
President and Chief Operating Officer
Representative Director
Sadanobu Takemasu
Member of the Board Masakatsu Gounai
Member of the Board (Outside) Emi Osono
Member of the Board (Outside) Yutaka Kyoya
Member of the Board (Outside) Sakie Akiyama
Member of the Board (Outside) Keiko Hayashi
Member of the Board (Outside) Kazunori Nishio

 

The independent officers will be Emi Osono, Sakie Akiyama and Keiko Hayashi

 

2. Corporate Auditors (4 members)

Standing Corporate Auditor Atsuhiko Seki
Standing Corporate Auditor (Outside) Toshio Takahashi
Corporate Auditor (Outside) Tetsuo Ozawa
Corporate Auditor (Outside) Eiko Tsujiyama

 

The independent officers will be Toshio Takahashi, Tesuo Ozawa, and Eiko Tsujiyama.

Lawson starts new services for UnionPay card holders to improve convenience for foreign tourists

Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, 2015-9-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson, Inc. will start new services for holders of the UnionPay card which is widely used in mainland China to improve convenience for foreign tourists. From September 24th, 2015, customers can pay by UnionPay credit card at all Lawson stores in Japan (12,195 stores as of Aug 31, 2015). From September 28, 2015, customers can also withdraw Japanese yen by UnionPay credit or debit card on a newly introduced ATM at about 1,000 stores in Japan.

◆Payment by UnionPay credit card

Customers can pay by UnionPay credit card at all Lawson stores in Japan. By the end of August 2015, there were 12,195 Lawson stores in Japan, including “LAWSON”, “NATURAL LAWSON” and “LAWSON STORE 100” in Japan.

Note: UnionPay debit card is not available yet.

Special coupon campaign for Chinese National Day

During the Chinese National Day holidays, a large number of Chinese tourists are expected to visit Japan. During this holiday season, Lawson will launch a coupon campaign for customers who use the UnionPay credit card for settlement.

Outline of the campaign: Customers who have purchased over 2,000 JPY (including tax) using the UnionPay credit card can get a 200 JPY coupon ticket which can be used in next payment.

Campaign period : From October 1 to 31

Coupon using period : From October 1 to November 7

Note: Coupon tickets will not be issued if purchase of cigarettes are on the shopping list. This Campaign is only for UnionPay Credit card whose card number starts with ‘62’.

At Lawson stores in Japan, the average shopping amount per payment is 600 JPY. Among them, the average payment made by credit card is twice as much, at around 1,300 JPY. Furthermore, in some pre-launched stores where payment by UnionPay card is already available, the average shopping amount made by UnionPay card jumps to about 3,000 to 4,000 JPY.
Foreign visitors going to Lawson stores buy not only rice balls and drinks, but also confectionery and daily goods as souvenirs. This campaign will be able to meet a wide range of needs from foreign visitors to Lawson stores.

◆Withdrawal of Japanese Yen using UnionPay card

Lawson is introducing a new type of ATMs featuring high processing speed, energy-saving and high security. At about 1,000 Lawson stores where the new ATMs have been installed, customers can withdraw Japanese yen by UnionPay credit or debit card from September 28, 2015.

Lawson plans to introduce 1,500 to 2,000 new ATMs every year. Around 2020, all ATMs at Lawson stores will be able to accept both UnionPay credit and debit cards. Lawson also plans to have its new type of ATM accept Visa, MasterCard, JCB and other credit cards issued outside Japan.

Lawson, Inc. is one of the largest convenience store chains in Japan with over 12,000 outlets in all 47 prefectures of Japan. With increasing foreign visitors to Japan, Lawson has improved its in-store free Wi-Fi service, such as much easier connection and multi-language acceptance. We also offer tax-refund services and more goods which are popular with foreign visitors at some Lawson stores. Lawson will take advantage of its store network and make active efforts to commit to better convenience and meet the needs of increasing foreign visitors.

###

Three F Co.,Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. in discussions to form capital and business alliance

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2015-9-3 — /EPR Retail News/ — Three F Co.,Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. have decided to begin discussing options for forming a capital and business alliance between their two firms.

  1. The two companies have already introduced various developments of their own to help stay abreast of rapidly changing conditions in the convenience store industry. However, they have decided to start discussing a potential capital and business alliance to further strengthen their respective business management.Three F and Lawson aim to form a strategic partnership to help boost their convenience store operations in an extremely competitive environment. While both parties will maintain independent management and protect their individual corporate brands and culture, they would conduct joint product development, procurement and promotional campaigns, and also share information that could boost management efficiency.
    Both companies are determined to discuss ideas frankly and openly, with the aim of creating a concrete, workable alliance agreement. Further developments will be announced once they are finalized.

    Overview of Three F Co.,Ltd. F and Lawson, Inc.
    ― Three F Co.,Ltd.
    (1)Company name: Three F Co.,Ltd.
    (2)Business location: 17 Nihon-odori, Naka-ku, Yokohama-city, Kanagawa
    (3)Name and title of representative director: Katsutoshi Nakai, President, Representative Director
    (4)Main areas of business operation:Operation and support for franchisees of convenience stores
    (5)Capital:1,396 million yen
    (6)Established: February 10, 1981

    ― Lawson, Inc.
    (1)Company name: Lawson, Inc.
    (2)Business location: East Tower, Gate City Osaki, 1-11-2 Osaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
    (3)Name and title of representative director: Genichi Tamatsuka, President and CEO, Representative Director
    (4)Main areas of business operation: Development of the Lawson convenience store franchise chain
    (5)Capital: 58,506 million yen
    (6)Established: April 15, 1975

  • Tentative upcoming schedule
    (1)By the end of September 2015 : Sign basic agreement for a capital and business alliance
    (2)By the end of October 2015 : Sign capital and business alliance contract
    (3)November 2015 : Start introducing joint projects

Lawson, Inc. announces organizational and personnel changes effective March 1, 2015

TOKYO, 2015-2-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson, Inc. (Head Office: Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo; President and CEO, Representative Director: Genichi Tamatsuka) has announced the following organizational and personnel changes effective March 1, 2015.

Organizational changes
We made this organizational changes to further strengthen focus on our stores and on each area strategy. Increasing the number of branches will enable us to respond to market needs in a speedy, efficient manner. We will further strive to listen and take in the innovative ideas arising from the front-line business and reflect them in our business initiatives.

Lawson introduced Branch Office Organizational System with seven Offices in 2003, and opened 76 Branches in 2011. With this area-focused, region-based organization, we have tried to meet the customer needs of each community. We will build on this Branch Office Organizational System and will expand the number of Branches from 75 to 92 in order to strengthen the area management strategy. The changes are made to better support our franchisees to improve their store management and operation, and ensure timely execution of business strategy.

The organizational changes will be made as follows:

  • 1) Changes in the Business Divisions and Operation Divisions
  • Reorganization of Store Operations Department
    We will reorganize the Store Operations Department from 8 to 12 departments to strengthen our store operations management.
  • Establishment of Franchisee Operation Support Division and Area Support Department
    To consolidate several supporting functions of different departments to a single organization, we will establish Franchisee Operation Support Division in our Headquarters and Area Support Departments in 8 regions. They will undertake functions such as managing energy-savings project and plan investment on existing stores in order to strengthen support to the franchisees.
  • Establishment of Sales Strategy and Marketing Division
    Sales Strategy and Marketing Division will be newly established and will work as a liaison between Store Operations Division and Merchandising Division. This organization will be responsible for creating sales strategy and implementing marketing plan and will focus to ensure better communication between franchisees and headquarters.
  • Reorganization of Branches
    We will increase the number of branches from 75 to 92 in order to better support our franchisees through deeper engagement and more intensive communications in each area.
  • 2) Changes in the Corporate Divisions of the Headquarters
  • We will change the organizational name of “Office” to “Division.” Corporate Management Office will be Finance & Accounting Division, Human Resources Office will be Human Resources Division, and Franchisee Support Office will be Franchisee Business Support Division.

 

Personnel changes

(Effective as of March 1, 2015)

[Board Member]
Masakatsu Gonai
New Position : Member of the Board ―Compliance & Risk Management and Human Resources,
Executive Vice President,
Division Director of Franchisee Business Support Division
Current Position : Member of the Board ―Compliance & Risk Management and Human Resources,
Executive Vice President

 

[Senior Vice Presidents]
Shuichi Imagawa
New Position : Senior Vice President,
Division Director of Sales Strategy and Marketing Division
Current Position : Senior Vice President,
Region Director of Kanto South Lawson Office
Takaki Mizuno
New Position : Senior Vice President,
Executive Assistant to CEO
Current Position : Senior Vice President,
Region Director of Kinki Lawson Office
Hisashi Yasuhira
New Position : Senior Vice President,
Executive Assistant to CEO,
Deputy Division Director of Sales Strategy and Marketing Division
Current Position : Senior Vice President,
Neighborhood Project Leader
Hajime Kawamura
New Position : Senior Vice President,
Deputy Division Director of Franchisee Business Support Division
Current Position : Senior Vice President,
Division Director of Quality Control Office
Yasuhiko Hirokane
New Position : Senior Vice President,
Division Director of Store Operations Division
and Division Director of Management Owner Promotion Division
Current Position : Senior Vice President,
Deputy Division Director of Store Operations Division
and Division Director of Management Owner Promotion Division