AEON overview

The AEON Group is one of Japan’s largest multi-channel retailers, operating in eight business segments and across 12 markets for FMCG. The Group has around 300 subsidiaries and has a strong position in financial services, shopping malls, general merchandise and the grocery sector. This multi-format approach to retailing helps AEON meet the diversifying lifestyle needs of its shoppers. AEON aims to be a 'glocal' company - operating by global standards at a local level, while placing the customer first.

Strategic Priorities

  1. Reforming supermarkets for growth – using robotics and AI technology to reform distribution, and establish strong regional-based operations to develop local products.
  2. Becoming even more responsive to social change – creating stores that feature distinctive food sections and highly specialised sales areas that cater to the needs of the market.
  3. Maximising technology – amidst the growth of online retailing, innovation through technology will become even more important. AEON plans to increase investment in ecommerce to accelerate growth in the digital channel. It has  partnered Ocado, for example, to develop its online grocery business in Japan.
  4. Shift to Asian markets to drive growth – build on its strong local presence via acquisitions and joint ventures.
  5. Strengthen Topvalu brand – delivering distinctive value and expanding its range of Topvalu Best Price, organic products and Topvalu Gurinai Free From.



Trading & Marketing

  • Range AEON's underlying philosophy is 'customer first', tailoring its products, stores and services to the changing needs of shoppers. One example is developing meal solution products for health-conscious shoppers. Range varies between formats, while product range is adapted to local tastes.
  • Private label AEON's Topvalu is a continuously evolving private label brand that covers a range of categories including; food, clothing and household goods. It delivers reliable essentials at a reasonable price. The retailer is also growing Topvalu Best Price, an even more value-oriented range. Regional Topvalu products for shoppers in China and ASEAN are also available. AEON will continue to develop products for small size stores, including small servings and premium products.
  • Price & promotions AEON is strengthening its everyday low pricing (EDLP) credentials, in line with similar actions from other retailers in Japan. Marketing communication is becoming more personalised. AEON uses a broad range of techniques to deliver value to its shoppers, for example through its loyalty scheme and scheduled days offering percentage discounts to different shopper groups.
  • Marketing campaigns often promote both value and values - for example its Yellow Receipt campaign involves shoppers selecting a community charity to support following natural disasters. Other marketing campaigns are co-ordinated with rebranding exercises following mergers and acquisitions. 

Channels

  • Hypermarkets – AEON acquired and subsequently rebranded six hypermarkets from French retailer Carrefour when it exited Japan in 2005. Similarly, AEON acquired hypermarkets in Malaysia from Carrefour following the retailer's exit in 2012, and now operates under AEON Big. AEON integrates its hypermarket results with its multi-bannered supermarket division.
  • Supermarkets supermarkets are at the centre of the Group's portfolio - formats in which it has built experience and expertise, alongside a vast accumulated floor space in Japan and increasingly overseas. In Japan, AEON's main supermarket banner is Maxvalu. Other supermarket banners include: AEON, Bio C' Bon (Organic Supermarket) and Maxvalu Express. AEON fully acquired the remaining shares in Daiei to make the retailer a wholly-owned subsidiary in 2015.
  • Convenience Ministop and My Basket are two CVS banners, with the former being the dominate format in terms of store numbers. Its ready-to-eat snacks are freshly prepared in store. In recent years, the number of small grocery stores, such as My Basket, have been expanding. The banner has a strong presence in Tokyo, offering convenience store products, fresh food and services.
  • Discount – the retailer developed A-Colle in 2014; small scale stores, with rationalised ranges, modelled on the European discount model. There are over 100 stores in Tokyo, Chiba and Saitama. Stores aim to target shoppers in urban locations. Prices in these stores are positioned 10-15% lower than standard stores. Big-A is another discount banner the retailer operates in Japan.
  • Drugstores – after several acquisitions, AEON  consolidated its operations under Welcia Holdings, the largest drugstore operator in Japan. Stores operate under the Welcia banner. AEON also has minority stakes in Tsuruha Holdings (Tsuruha drugstores) and Medical Ikkou (pharmacy operator).
  • Online in line with Group strategy towards a digital shift, the online channel is a key growth opportunity. Online sales currently accounts for less than 3% of the retailer's total sales in Japan. AEON will step-up its investment in online operations. 
  • Department stores AEON's department stores fall under its general merchandise (GMS) reporting division and are a key revenue driver for the Group. Operating in challenging trading conditions, it seeks to improve overall profitability for the business.
  • Other AEON operates several non-grocery banners, including Daiso, Mr Donut and AEON Wellness. Another example is Origin Toshu (in Japan), which specialises in ready-to-eat food and offers a place where people can eat casually or take away.

Markets

  • Japan – operations at home account for over 90% of total Group revenue. AEON is pursuing growth in southeast Asia and China, but is mindful that maintaining stable results in Japan is integral to the Group's overall performance. Historically, AEON has been one of the strongest amongst its competitors to recognise the changing demographics in Japan, with ageing population given special consideration in its retail stores. AEON'S senior strategy permeates into many aspects of retail including product design and services, store layout and loyalty schemes.
  • China – AEON entered mainland China in 1996. The Group operates a wide range of operations in China, including financial and property services, food service businesses, shopping centres and supermarkets. In 2013 AEON opened its first Maxvalu supermarket in Guangzhou. AEON plans to extend its presence from Beijing, Tianjin, Shangdong, Guangdong and to new areas, including Hubei and Jiangsu provinces. AEON launched its Topvalu private label in the Chinese market in 2012.
  • Hong Kong – AEON established JUSCO Stores in Hong Kong in 1985 and opened the first flagship GMS store at Kornhill in 1987. In 2013, JUSCO stores in China and Hong Kong were renamed to AEON. The retailer operates several different banners: AEON Supermarket (grocery), Bento Express by AEON (foodservice), Living PLAZA by AEON, AEON Style, Mono Mono and other non-grocery banners (e.g. HÓME CÓORDY).
  • Malaysia – the Group set up a regional headquarters in 2012, placing the market at the heart of AEON’S southeast Asian operations. It extended its store network in November 2012 through the acquisition of Carrefour's hypermarkets when the French retailer exited the market. Stores now trade under the AEON Big banner, the retailer plans to consolidate its business and focus on a single business format.
  • Thailand – AEON operates two supermarket formats in Thailand: Maxvalu supermarkets and smaller format Maxvalu Tanjai. Maxvalu Tanjai's small store footprint is designed to suit the needs of the growing number of urban shoppers, particularly in Bangkok. The AEON Group operates other businesses in Thailand including AEON Fantasy amusement centres, financial services and drugstores (Welcia).
  • Philippines – Ministop is well established in the Philippines, where stores are operated by local franchise holder, Robinsons Retail Group. The franchise entered the market in December 2000 and continues to extend its store network through its franchise model. Ministop aims to build a national presence in the Philippines.
  • Vietnam – AEON opened its first Ministop store in 2011, through a joint venture with G7 Mart, part of the Trung Nguyen Group. The retailer subsequently setup Ministop Vietnam and now partners with Sojitz. Ministop aims to increase the number of its stores to 800 in the next ten years. Stores are currently concentrated in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Like in other markets, AEON also operates shopping malls.
  • South Korea – Ministop entered the market in 1990, and now operates over 2,600 stores nationwide.
  • Cambodia AEON first entered the market in 2014, opening its first shopping mall in the country. The retailer opened its first grocery towards the end of 2015.
  • Myanmar – AEON is first foreign retailer to enter Myanmar. In food and grocery, it partnered with Creation Myanmar Group via a joint venture in August 2016. Together they operate AEON Orange supermarkets, most of which are based in Yangon. AEON opened its first hypermarket in the country in 2019, operating 2,800 sq m, around three times the size of its supermarkets.
  • Indonesia – AEON announced plans to operate in the Indonesian market in 2012. In partnership with PT Sinar Mas Land, the first AEON Mall opened in 2015, located in BSD City, Tangerang. In 2016, convenience store chain Ministop pulled out from Indonesia after failing to compete with the two leading local retailers; Indomaret and Alfamart. The company’s second mall opened in 2017, located in Jakarta Garden City.
  • Singapore – AEON's Welcia entered the market in 2017, setting up a joint venture with Beijing Hualian Group to trade Welcia-BHG drugstores
  • Taiwan, India and Laos – AEON only operates financial services in these three markets.