Seven & I raises online sales bar

JIJI

Retail giant Seven & I Holdings Co. aims to post ¥500 billion in sales in fiscal 2015 from its group Internet shopping operations, a fivefold increase from the last fiscal year, sources said.

Although the domestic retail industry is experiencing a sharp downturn, online shopping sales are increasing thanks chiefly to the popularity of smartphones, the sources said Thursday.

Seven & I hopes to benefit from the growing online shopping market by establishing in June a distribution center exclusively for online sales operations, they said.

In fiscal 2012, Seven & I generated sales of some ¥100 billion from online shopping. The company expects to see sales of ¥150 billion in the current fiscal year from April 1, thanks to strong sales from online supermarket operations by its Ito-Yokado unit, “bento” boxed-meal delivery services by Seven-Eleven convenience stores and baby goods retailer Akachan Honpo Co.

The new distribution center will be built in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, and will be more than three times the size of the largest existing one. By creating the giant base with some 150,000 items for overall group units, including private brand products, Seven & I will consolidate existing distribution centers.

Seven & I will also study services beyond business categories, such as advertising and transport by Seven-Eleven deliverers of goods handled by group department stores.

According to the Japan Direct Marketing Association, mail-order and catalog shopping sales in fiscal 2011 topped ¥5 trillion for the first time, buoyed by online shopping.