Convenience: monthly data and learnings from Japan

Date : 10 February 2021

Charles Chan

Senior Retail Analyst

Monthly data updates from 7-Eleven, Lawson and Ministop, focusing on sales, customer footfall and average customer spend in Japan. 

Japan’s convenience channel shrinking

All of the leading convenience retailers are seeing a decline in sales year-on-year (YoY). Since the pandemic, 7-Eleven has been the leader in terms of adapting and managing the impact. YoY sales fell the sharpest in April 2020 at -5.6%, but performance has been recovering. For the month of January 2021, all store sales at 7-Eleven were down -1.2%, Lawson dropped back to -6.7% and Ministop at -5.9% YoY.

Driving differentiation remains high on the agenda of all retailers. With profit and sales down YoY, the leading convenience chains are looking at ways to return to growth. Some are beginning to test small minimart grocery formats like Aeon's My Basket. The banner has expanded to 921 stores (opening more than 50 last year) and has been particularly popular since the pandemic.

Customer footfall drops further

For the month of January, customer footfall was down -11.6% and -15.5% (YoY) for 7-Eleven and Lawson, respectively. This was impacted by recent snow storms and another (COVID-19) state of emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures.

Average spending per customer up double-digits YoY

Focusing on initiatives that can boost average spend per customer remains important. 7-Eleven is expanding sales space for liquor, while FamilyMart has installed freezers at all its stores. Note: shares of FamilyMart have been delisted (November 12, 2020) following the ITOCHU Corporation acquisition and data is no longer published by the retailer. Key metrics were following a similar trajectory to Lawson.

January 2021 store numbers:

  • 7-Eleven Japan: 20,997
  • FamilyMart Japan: >16,600
  • Lawson Japan: 14,524
  • Ministop Japan: 2,000

Looking for more insight?

  • More on convenience retailing in Japan click here
  • More on global convenience trends click here
  • More on global convenience retailing click here