Convenience: monthly data and learnings from Japan

Date : 10 March 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

For the fiscal year ending February 2021, all stores sales fell -2.8% at 7-Eleven, -8% at Lawson and -7.4% year-on-year (YoY) at Ministop. Driving differentiation and defining the role of the convenience store have become really important for all c-store retailers in Japan. Many are exploring new ways to return to growth.

7-Eleven is expanding sales space for liquor, while FamilyMart has installed freezers at all of its stores nationally to cater for food-for-later missions. Some retailers are also beginning to test more top-up style product ranges that are similar to Aeon's minimart concept My Basket. The banner has expanded to 921 stores (opening more than 50 over the last year) and has been particularly popular since the pandemic.

Customer footfall down double-digits YoY

For the fiscal year ending February 2021, customer footfall was down -10% and -14% YoY for 7-Eleven and Lawson, respectively. There has been some seasonal variability month-on-month, but overall footfall has showed no signs of recovery compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Should customer footfall stay at these levels, Japan’s convenience sector will continue to shrink. Average spending per customer would need to rise significantly because organic store expansion has also slowed down.  

Average spending per customer higher than ever before

For the fiscal year ending February 2021, average spending per customer was up 8.4% at 7-Eleven, 8.1% at Lawson and 7.3% YoY at Ministop.

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.

2020 store numbers (fiscal year ending February 2021)

  • 7-Eleven Japan: 21,085 (the previous year: 20,955)
  • FamilyMart Japan: >16,600 (the previous year: 16,611)
  • Lawson Japan: 14,476 (the previous year: 14,444)
  • Ministop Japan: 1,999 (the previous year: 1,997)

Looking for more insight?

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