Walmart may finally have discovered the sweet spot in Japan’s food market with a fast-rising venture lined third in a budding online grocery market, as the brick-and-mortar shops it purchased two decades ago proceed with their quest for revenue.
The barely year-old partnership between the U.S. grocery store chain’s Seiyu and local e-commerce agency Rakuten measured 30% sales growth for late October through December against the same interval a year ago when Seiyu was going it alone, stated Rakuten Seiyu NetSuper Chief Executive Tamae Takeda.
The change in fortune is a lift for Walmart as it heightens its battle with Amazon.com in its home market, where retailers are racing to deliver online orders faster.
It further demonstrates that better confidence in online companies and improved logistics can win over Japanese shoppers usually considered too choosy about freshness to purchase products through the internet, analysts stated.
Serving to drive total growth, Takeda stated, was the demand for time-saving solutions, notably as an increasing proportion of mothers work. Government data confirmed more than 70% of Japanese women with children under 18 work, against 50% merely 20 years ago.
Helping the venture, in particular, is Seiyu’s access to Rakuten’s 99 billion members, increasing its reach past its 333 stores. Rakuten, in turn, has availed from Seiyu’s ties with local suppliers, serving to it retaliate versus Amazon.com.
Collectively, they are able to better ease the pressure of a contracting labor market which has driven up delivery prices and implied Seiyu’s competitors such as Uny, run by Pan Pacific International Holdings, to desert e-commerce.