Uniqlo owner, Fast Retailing Co Ltd, and the operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores are planning to enter into a partnership to turn 7-Eleven stores in Japan into pick-up spots for online purchases of Uniqlo clothing.
A person familiar with the matter quoted by Reuters pointed out that this joint venture will not include an equity alliance and could also involve a new clothing brand and cooperation overseas.
After reports broke on the alleged partnership, Fast Retailing and Seven & i Holdings Co confirmed they were in talks on an operational tie-up in various fields but said nothing specific had been decided.
It is noteworthy that up to 40 percent of Japan’s convenience stores are part of the 7-Eleven network, considered one of the country’s most profitable retailers.
Hiroyuki Fukunaga, CEO of investment firm Investrust explained that “if people can receive Uniqlo clothes at 7-Eleven stores, then it could help lift Seven & i’s sales as well.”
With this movement, Fast Retailing would strengthen its position in an ever-increasingly competitive market which had seen the likes of e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc agreed to a partnership with delivery firm Yamato Holdings Co Ltd that lets customers pick up Rakuten orders at FamilyMart Co Ltd and Circle K Sunkus convenience stores and other locations.
Likewise, Amazon Japan orders can also be picked up at FamilyMart and Lawson Inc outlets and Fast Retailing itself agreed this year to tie up with Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd to offer delivery of its products purchased online using the builder’s distribution business.
On the wake of the news, Fast Retailing shares were down 1.2 percent and Seven & i was up 1.2 percent, ahead of a flat Nikkei.