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Japan-based AEON has acquired a 19.9% stake in France-based organic retailer, Bio c’ Bon.

50 new stores planned by 2021

AEON and Bio c' Bon partnered in 2016 and opened a first Japanese store in Tokyo soon after. The joint venture, Bio c' Bon Japan, is owned equally by AEON and Bio c’ Bon. A total of eight stores have been opened in Japan since, with the companies reiterating their aim to operate 50 in three years. Following the success of the initial partnership, AEON has decided to acquire an almost 20% stake in Bio c’ Bon.

Challenge of supply

Bio c’ Bon stores offer Japanese products and a Made in France range, comprising, wine, cheeses and more. “The organic products offered by Bio c’ Bon are subject to a set of specific rules: the Japanese Agricultural Standards for the Japanese products and the Biological Agriculture label for the French products”. The supply of local products in Japan is a challenge for the companies as only 0.2% of agricultural products are organic and suppliers are difficult to find.

For subscribers wanting to see how organic is being executed in-store in countries where the organic sector is already well established, including North America and Europe, see our insight presentation.

Our new grocery market size forecasts underline how the top 20 countries globally are set to sustain their growth to 2023. By the end of the five-year timeframe we see the 20 biggest grocery markets, growing by 28%, adding US$1.9tr in sales.

Asia leading growth outlook…

Asia’s growth will be broad based. The region will contain seven of the world’s largest grocery markets by 2023 and will have a combined market size of US$3.2tr. Despite China attracting a lot of attention, there will be strong support from Indonesia and Pakistan given the large local populations, improving levels of GDP per capita and the continued development and evolution of modern trade.

…With strong support coming from Europe and US

Europe will be the second most important region in terms of additional sales between 2018 and 2023 and is forecast to generate US$449.6bn in new sales. Five key countries – France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, UK – are set to account for nearly two-thirds of all additional sales generated between 2018 and 2023.

While the outlook for North America is for a comparatively low growth scenario, together Canada and the US will account for nearly 15% of the new sales generated by the top 20 markets globally. The size of the local market underlines its continued importance to retailers and manufacturers globally.

IGD Research

Despite growth, challenges remain

While the outlook for the global grocery market remains positive, challenges are likely to remain in many countries. These will be mainly driven by changing shopper choices of where and how they want to buy.

As a result, there will be a continued focus and investment in stores to make them relevant for tomorrow’s shoppers. There will also be a significant spending within the online grocery retail. The increasing pace of demand from shoppers and their increasing desire to buy little, more often is set to require an associated rise in spending on supply chains and fulfilment to make them more efficient.

Jon Wright

Jon Wright

Head of Retail Insight – EMEA

The global grocery retail landscape is changing fast, with significant growth opportunities for your business. Better understand the largest markets and how we see them growing and evolving to 2023.

Get the latest industry news and insights straight to your inbox with our range of newsletters.

As part of their strategic relationship, Walmart and Rakuten have opened their first ecommerce store in Japan. We look at the model being used and implications for future expansion.

Products fulfilled from US inventory

Earlier this year, Walmart and Tokyo-based Rakuten, announced a strategic alliance designed to optimise each company’s strengths and assets to expand their reach to new consumer groups. The Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store is featured within Rakuten Ichiba, the largest ecommerce store in Japan. The new store provides Japanese consumers with access to products sourced from Walmart’s US ranges. Categories featured include clothing, outdoor goods and toys, with around 1,200 items initially offered. Orders are fulfilled in the US and flown to consumers in Japan. The product price incorporates shipping, duties and taxes.

Source: Rakuten

New online grocery service

A key element of the strategic partnership was the development of a new online grocery delivery service, Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper. This launched in October, offering a more convenient shopping experience that meets the changing needs of customers in Japan. In addition to offering deliveries from Walmart’s stores, the service has established a dedicated fulfillment centre to increase capacity. Both these new services help Walmart to expand its grocery footprint in Japan, a country where its stores numbers have been relatively static for several years.

Adding new eBooks capability to the ecosystem

In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo Inc. have formed an exclusive retail alliance that enables Walmart to sell eBooks and audiobooks and Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in Walmart stores and online at As one of the country’s largest booksellers, a digital platform enhances its appeal, while also pitching it directly against Amazon and its Kindle e-reader.

A model for future international ecommerce expansion

Although Walmart has operated in Japan since 2002, the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store is a model which could be replicated in other countries where it does not have a physical presence. In Japan, Walmart benefits from an established customer base, but trades under the Seiyu brand. Physical stores are not essential to this model. Key elements are a strategic partnership with an ecommerce marketplace leader and a logistics infrastructure to support home delivery.

As orders are being fulfilled from the US, there is limited infrastructure development required in the new country of operation. With Walmart having high brand recognition globally and a reputation for price leadership, there is likely to be strong demand for its products. Walmart has established similar stores in China through its partnership with

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This in-depth guide to Japan explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.
Get up to speed on all of the latest retailer results, the insight into what is driving growth and IGD's five big trends to watch in Asia in 2019.
In this presentation we look at the regional and country forecasts for grocery retailing to 2023. With the global grocery retail landscape changing fast, providing both opportunities and challenges for your business we look at the changes to our forecasts to help you better understand how we see them growing and evolving to 2023.
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Key presentation

This in-depth guide to Japan explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

We have launched an insight and capability service designed to help you successfully trade in Asian markets.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

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We've grouped all the latest Asia retail news, store visits, retailer profiles and downloadable presentations together in one place.