Japan Lawson speeds up expansion in China, opening stores in Hebei, Hainan
TOKYO, NNA - Japanese convenience store chain operator Lawson Inc. is accelerating the expansion of its network in China, opening its first six stores in Hebei Province on Sunday and planning to launch its first store in Haikou, the capital of the southern island province of Hainan, in the fall.
The latest move comes after Lawson announced in April that its local unit Beijing Lawson Co. agreed with Jinyuan Business Chain Management Hebei Co. to franchise the store in Tangshan city, which is growing fast economically in Hebei.
The two partners planned to roll out 50 stores in five years in Shijiazhuang, Lanfang and Chengde, a spokesman at Lawson in Tokyo told NNA in April.
Meanwhile, Lawson signed a regional license contract with Hainan Qingzi Industrial Co. in Haikou last Friday, according to a Lawson press release the same day.
The local partner firm will handle product development, distribution management, recruiting franchisees and other business management in the designated areas.
Demand for convenience stores is increasing among tourists visiting Hainan Island, and Lawson aims to boost the number of stores in Hainan to 300 by 2023.
To speed up its expansion, Lawson has also rolled out two prefabricated stores for the first time in China. The prefabricated stores, which are smaller-sized shops, can be built quickly and easily, enabling Lawson to open stores in places like parks, constructions sties and parking areas.
Lawson aims to set up more than 10 such prefabricated stores in China during fiscal year 2020.
China accounts for most of Lawson’s overseas stores. Having ventured into six provinces and four cities in China, the company has 2,707 stores as of June 30. Lawson aims to expand its network to 3,000 by the end of 2020.