Japanese convenience store operator Lawson said today (3 July) its continued focus on fresh food in its stores allowed it to grow its customer base during the first quarter of the year.

Lawson said operating profit increased 8.4% on the year to JPY13.9bn (US$174m). Net profit totalled JPY6.2bn and same store sales gained 5%, the group added.

While Japanese retailers have struggled to grow sales and earnings, Lawson has responded to the tough trading environment by developing its convenience network into “neighbourhood stores”.

With a clear target consumer – women and seniors – Lawson has increased its appeal to core consumers through ranging initiatives which have taken direction from the use of club card data.

In a depressed market, another good quarter from Lawson would suggest this approach is paying off.