Lawson "preparing" for CEO transition

Lawson "preparing" for CEO transition

Japanese convenience retailer Lawson Inc is reportedly preparing to promote its chief operating officer, Genichi Tamatsuka, to the post of president and CEO.

According to a report in the Japanese Times, Tamatsuka will take the helm in 1 May, when current CEO Takeshi Niinami will stand down and take the position of chairman at the convenience giant.

The report cited "informed sources" but Lawson is yet to make an official statement. The company did not respond immediately when approached for comment.

Retail veteran Tamatsuka joined Lawson in 2010, having previously served at president of Fast Retailing Co.

Tamatsuka will take the helm at Lawson as the group navigates ongoing soft domestic consumption patterns and increasing competition among Japan's largest convenience retailers.

In its most resent financial update, for the nine-month period to end-December, Lawson booked an increase in profits driven by gains from its "efficient store-opening strategy". Lawson opened 294 stores in Japan during the period, taking its estate to 11,270 outlets. It also opened 35 stores overseas, including its first in outlets in Beijing and in Thailand. 

The company has, however, struggled with weak like-for-like trends exasperated by declining tobacco sales. As a result, operating revenue dipped 0.6% in the nine-months. Lawson has responded by launching freshly-brewed coffee and investing in food ingredients to be prepared and eaten at home.