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Half of Uny superstores will become Don Quijote outlets

JIJI

Major Japanese retailer FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co. will convert about half of its Uny superstores into discount retail outlets operated by its business partner Don Quijote Holdings Co., FamilyMart Uny President Koji Takayanagi said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

With the move FamilyMart Uny aims to attract more customers utilizing know-how from Don Quijote outlets, which are popular among young people and visitors to Japan, Takayanagi said.

The company plans to change six Uny outlets into Don Quijote shops as early as February, and up to 20 stores per year subsequently.

Takayanagi said not all but about half of the existing 200 Uny stores across the nation would eventually be converted. “Some stores would (be) better (to) remain Uny outlets,” he pointed out.

Sales at stores transformed into Don Quijote outlets are expected to double or thereabouts, he added.

Meanwhile, Takayanagi revealed that FamilyMart Uny is “re-evaluating the feasibility” of continuing operations of its three Uny stores in Hong Kong.

“We’re considering all options, including selling (the outlets),” he said, suggesting the possibility that his company will totally retreat from overseas operations to focus on the domestic turnaround. FamilyMart Uny will make a decision on the matter by June, Takayanagi said.

On financial operations, Takayanagi indicated no intention to seek a banking license.

Whether to develop its own reward card program and electronic money or cooperate with other companies “will be decided next year,” the president said.

FamilyMart Uny is looking at a wide range of possibilities, including exiting a Culture Convenience Club Co. unit’s T-Point loyalty system currently used in FamilyMart convenience stores, Takayanagi said.

In addition, Takayanagi showed eagerness to strengthen cooperation with top shareholder Itochu Corp., a major Japanese trading house, on convenience store operations in China.

He aims to “more than double” the number of FamilyMart stores in China from the current over 2,000, Takayanagi said.