Retail giant Seven & I Holdings Co. welcomed 1,071 new recruits at a ceremony Thursday for those entering its 21 units including Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and department store chain Sogo & Seibu Co.

"All industries are experiencing revolutionary changes with accelerated digital technology innovations. I believe your fresh and flexible minds are our crucial asset to transform the group," President Ryuichi Isaka told the recruits in Tokyo.

Representing the recruits, Hiroka Harada, a 22-year-old employee at retailer Ito-Yokado Co., said: "We promise you that we will look into the future and aggressively take up challenges."

The company holds a welcoming ceremony every March so new employees can get used to their jobs as soon as possible. The number of new recruits at the retail giant fell from the previous year's 1,215 as companies including Ito-Yokado, which is shutting unprofitable stores, hired fewer graduates. The holding company plans to recruit 1,130 new graduates in the following fiscal year.