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Restructure for Rakuten Europe

A restructure of Rakuten Europe will see the Japanese eCommerce company exit two countries to focus on France and Germany.

Following a strategic review of its operations in Europe, Rakuten has decided to close its operations in the UK and Spain, due to the high capital cost of growth relative to the size of the businesses. The company says the move will “ensure it is fit to capitalise on future opportunities in the region”.

“Rakuten will focus its eCommerce marketplace investment in France and Germany as the businesses there have the scale and potential for sustainable growth,” it said in a statement.

Rakuten has started to talk with employees around the its plans to close the Rakuten UK marketplace and its Cambridge operations and the Rakuten Spain marketplace and its Barcelona operations.

The company will also start serving Austrian merchants from its German operations base after closing its dedicated Austria portal, currently managed out of Vienna.

Rakuten says the marketplaces will close by the end of August, subject to completion of the consultation process with impacted employees in relevant jurisdictions, as well as other legal processes.

“Rakuten will continue to evolve the eCommerce business model in countries across Europe, including initiatives such as the launch of a new Price Club to enhance membership loyalty in France and Rakuten Pro in Germany, a low-commission model for merchants aimed at enhancing service quality,” the statement said.

“Rakuten will also continue to grow its presence in Europe across its diverse business portfolio, from eCommerce to digital content businesses such as Wuaki and Kobo, to the Viber messaging platform and the adtech business Rakuten Marketing.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Rakuten Inc is one of the world’s leading internet services companies, offering a wide variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on eCommerce, finance, and digital content. It is Japan’s largest online retail portal, long referred to as “Japan’s Amazon”.

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