Japanese retailer Ito-Yokado is reported to be planning to establish a fresh food supermarket joint venture in China.

According to a company spokesman the joint venture could be launched as early as this autumn, reported the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Ito-Yokado will have a 40% stake in the joint venture, with Bejing Wangfujing Department Store Co also taking a 40% stake and Ito-Yokado affiliate York-Benimaru Co having the remaining 20%.

The joint venture aims to set up its first store in Beijing in spring 2005 and two more stores are planned for Beijing later that fiscal year.