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Japan's Lawson aims to accelerate overseas presence: CEO

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Japanese convenience store firm Lawson Inc plans to speed up its overseas expansion and will consider acquisitions, President and CEO Genichi Tamatsuka said, predicting the number of its stores abroad will surpass those in Japan in 5-10 years.

[MANILA] Japanese convenience store firm Lawson Inc plans to speed up its overseas expansion and will consider acquisitions, President and CEO Genichi Tamatsuka said, predicting the number of its stores abroad will surpass those in Japan in 5-10 years.

Japanese convenience store chains are jostling for position in emerging economies as homebase operations face market saturation.

Lawson has more than 12,000 stores in Japan and 761 branches overseas, of which 655 are in China, and the rest in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and in Hawaii. "I think within five to 10 years, the number of stores we are operating overseas will clearly exceed the stores we are operating in Japan," Tamatsuka told reporters on Tuesday.

Tamatsuka is in Manila for the opening of Lawson's flagship branch in the Philippines, its 20th in the country. "If there is opportunity for acquisitions, we will seriously consider," he said.

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Overseas operations started slow in 2010 but Lawson plans to accelerate expanding its international footprint, said Tamatsuka. "In terms of future growth, I think overseas especially Asian countries, including North America, those are the markets we have to seriously consider," he said.

Japan remains an important market for Lawson, with room for growth as new niche categories come out of the ageing society, Tamatsuka said.

REUTERS

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