Japanese convenience-store business Lawson will cooperate with local home-goods network Muji in a sales and brand development partnership, according to a Nikkei Asia report.
The deal will see Muji products stocked in Lawson Japan outlets as well as the development of further daily-use products under a new private brand, which may lead to a fresh store concept. It replaces Muji’s previous supply contract with rival chain FamilyMart.
The move will take advantage of shifting consumer behaviours as more Japanese shoppers purchase daily items from convenience store chains in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Around 20 per cent of items currently stocked at Lawson are likely to be replaced with Muji-branded products, most probably goods such as eco-friendly detergents and nutritional pre-packaged foods, in high demand since the advent of Covid-19.
Early customer response to the change in a small number of outlets will determine how broadly the initiative is applied across Lawson’s 15,000-store network.
The agreement also addresses shrinking opportunities to expand given the gradual decline in Japan’s population, providing a broader product range in existing stores.
Muji currently operates more than 400 locations in Japan.