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Lawson Plans Move From Convenience to Drug Channel

TOKYO -- One year after jumping into the convenience store arena in the United States, Tokyo-based Lawson Inc. is now turning its focus to the U.S. drug channel.

According to Bloomberg, Lawson is looking to buy or invest in drugstores in the United States. With this move, the second largest c-store chain in Japan would leverage its expertise to expand its domestic healthcare business.

The retailer plans to open one-stop stores aimed at the growing number of health-conscious consumers who eat nutritious food and take supplements and drugs, CEO Takeshi Niinami said.

"We see more business opportunity if we can absorb the know-how of U.S. or European drugstores and put it into practice in Japan and China," which face increasingly aging populations, he explained.

Lawson plans to expand its sale of drugs and its offering of low-carbohydrate, low-calorie food for health-conscious customers such as diabetics, among other healthy options, Niinami said.

The company hasn't yet entered into talks with any acquisition targets, nor has it decided how much to spend, the chief executive told Bloomberg.

As of May, Lawson operated 11,249 outlets in Japan and 461 stores overseas. The retailer opened its first convenience stores in the United States last July with two locations in Hawaii's main tourism district, as CSNews Online previously reported.


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