Lawson (store)

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Lawson, Inc.
Native name
Kabushiki Kaisha Rōson
Public (K.K.)
Traded as TYO: 2651
Industry Retail (convenience stores)
Founded 1939; 78 years ago (1939)
Founder James “J.J.” Lawson
Headquarters Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Number of employees
6,404 (2013)
Parent Mitsubishi Corporation (32%)
Website (English)
Lawson Terauchicho 1-chome shop in Moriguchi, Osaka, Japan

Lawson, Inc. (株式会社ローソン Kabushiki Kaisha Rōson, TYO: 2651) is a convenience store franchise chain in Japan. The store originated in Cuyahoga Falls, near Cleveland and Akron, in the U.S. state of Ohio, but today exists as a Japanese company and is the second largest convenience store chain in the country behind 7-Eleven.[1]

The Japanese company has its headquarters in East Tower of Gate City Ohsaki in Ōsaki, Shinagawa, Tokyo.[2]

Origins in Ohio[edit]

In 1939,[3] a dairy owner named James "J.J." Lawson started a store at his Broad Boulevard dairy plant in Cuyahoga Falls, near Akron, Ohio, to sell his milk. The Lawson's Milk Company grew to a chain of stores, primarily in Ohio.[3] Lawson was bought out by Consolidated Foods in 1959. Lawson's neighborhood convenience stores were common in Ohio from the 1960s through the mid-1980s. They were probably best known for their orange juice, milk, deli counter 'chipped' style ham and sour cream potato chip dips.

Consolidated was renamed Sara Lee in 1985.[4][5] At about the same time, Lawson's stores in the United States were sold to Dairy Mart,[3] a smaller chain of convenience stores located in Enfield, Connecticut. Dairy Mart moved its headquarters to Cuyahoga Falls, renamed the Lawson's stores, and operated the chain as Dairy Mart for the next 17 years. Under Dairy Mart, the chain was not without controversy.[6] Dairy Mart was sued by the American Family Association, after a Dairy Mart manager in Ohio complained that the company's policy of selling pornography subjected her to sexual and religious harassment.[7] The court case, Stanley v. Lawson Co., gained fame as a test of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[8]

In 2002, Alimentation Couche-Tard of Laval, Quebec bought the assets and name of Dairy Mart. Most of the former Dairy Mart stores—many of which were either originally Lawson's stores, or were located in communities in which Lawson's once had a presence—were converted to the Circle K brand. Due to popular response from consumers in Ohio and elsewhere, it was announced that Lawson's Chip Dip would continue to be sold "no matter what the name of the store", as was reported in the Akron Beacon Journal.[9][10]

Presence in Japan[edit]

Inside a Lawson in Ontakesan, Tokyo
A Lawson in Shanghai, China

In 1974, Consolidated signed a formal agreement with Daiei to open the first Lawson stores in Japan. On April 15, 1975 Daiei Lawson Co., Ltd. was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Daiei, Inc., a retail company which also ran a supermarket chain. The first store opened in Sakurazuka, Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture in June 1975. In September 1979 the official name was changed to Lawson Japan, Inc.. The Mitsubishi Corporation became the main shareholder in 2001.

Lawson is one of the top convenience store chains in Japan, second only to convenience franchise giant 7-Eleven. All of the usual Japanese convenience store goods such as magazines, video games, manga, soft drinks, onigiri, and bento are available. They have occasionally collaborated on tie-ins with various companies, including Koei's PlayStation 3 game Dynasty Warriors 7.[11] In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a Lawson store in author Hirohiko Araki's native Sendai was remodeled to look like the "Owson" store that appears in part 4 of the series.[12] In late 2013, a crossover with All Japan Pro Wrestling saw Triple Crown heavyweight wrestling champion Kohei Suwama appear in ads and even work the till for a photo-op in a Tokyo location. In early 2016 a Lawson sponsored Power Cube was introduced into the online game Ingress.

To date, Lawson operates over 11,384 stores[13] in all 47 prefectures of Japan, as well as in Shanghai and Chongqing, China. In August 2011, Lawson opened their first store in Jakarta, Indonesia [14]

In 2014 the company announced plans to open stores specifically designed for elderly consumers. The first such store is expected to open in February 2015, in Kawaguchi. [15]

In 2013 Lawson began opening stores in Thailand under the name Lawson 108. The stores are run as a joint venture between Lawson Japan and the Thai consumer goods giant Saha Group.[16]

In September 2014, Lawson announced it would acquire Japanese chain Seijo Ishii Co for around $503 million from Marunouchi Capital.[17]

In October 2016 Lawson announced that they are setting up a company together with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ which would, after receiving the appropriate license from the Japanese Financial Services Agency, allow them to offer cash withdrawal, deposit and transfer services, over and above the ATM services that they already provide.[18]

Return to the United States[edit]

With the establishment of "Lawson USA Hawaii, Inc." Lawson returned to the U.S. market, with two locations in Honolulu opening on July 7, 2012.[19] One of the stores is in the Sheraton Waikiki, while the other is in the Moana Hotel.[20][20][21]

Further expansion to both Hawaii and the mainland U.S. is planned, with 30 stores planned for Hawaii alone over the next three years.[22]

Solar power[edit]

As of May 2012 Lawson had solar equipment at only 20 of their stores, but the company announced in June 2012 that it would install solar panels at 2,000 of their 10,000 Japanese stores[23] starting in September 2012 and finishing by the end of February 2014. It was estimated that each store would generate about 11,000 kWh per year. Just under 2,000 kWh of this would go toward climate control and other in-house uses, which would account for about 1% of each store's power consumption. The rest of the electricity would be sold under Japan's feed-in tariff system that came into operation on July 1, 2012. It was estimated that the company's income from the power generated by the 2,000 stores would come to more than 700 million yen a year.[24]

Lawson planned to install solar panels at 1,000 stores in the 2012-2013 financial year, and 1,000 more in the 2013-2014 financial year. It chose solar panels from Solar Frontier, along with the same company's online monitoring system for the first 1,000 stores.[25]

Lawson in Indonesia[edit]

In Indonesia, Lawson is a subsidiary of Alfamidi (PT Midi Utama Indonesia Tbk).[26] Recently, Lawson partnered with JKT48 to launch their new products.

Lawson in the Philippines[edit]

Lawson Asia Pacific and Puregold Price Club formed a joint venture under the name PG Lawson Company Inc. They opened their first branch in Santa Ana, Manila on March 30, 2015. Under the partnership, Lawson will provide its expertise in convenience store's know-how and product development while Puregold will provide its expertise in product procurement and localized knowledge of the retail consumers.

They plan to open 50 stores by 2015 and 500 stores by 2020.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lawson Japan Inc - Second Largest Japanese Konbini Convenience Store Chain. Profile on Component Database. Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  2. ^ "Corporate Profile". Lawson. Retrieved on July 4, 2011. "East Tower, Gate City Ohsaki 11-2, Osaki 1-chome, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-8643 Japan"
  3. ^ a b c Dairy Mart Uncovers Piece of History. Originally published in Convenience Store News, 16 April 2002. Retrieved from, 19 December 2007.
  4. ^ The Sara Lee Heritage. Sara Lee website, accessed 19 January 2008.
  5. ^ "Sara Lee - About Us". Sara Lee. Hillshire Brands. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Dairy Mart Convenience Stores, Inc. Page at Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  7. ^ Olson, Walter. For Heaven's Sake Religious accommodation and other openings for big-government conservatism. Reason magazine, December 1997. Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  8. ^ Chmara, Theresa and Mach, Daniel. Civil Liability for an Alleged Hostile Work Environment Related to Patron or Employee Internet Use. Memorandum Jenner & Block, 2 February 2004. Published on the website of the Freedom to Read Foundation. Retrieved 19 December 2007. See also 993 F. Supp. 1084 in the Federal Supplement.
  9. ^ Dairy Marts Renamed. CSP Daily News, July 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  10. ^ Abraham, Lisa (January 13, 2009). "Lisa Abraham: Lawson's stores prosper in Japan". Akron: Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ Anoop Gantayat (2011-01-21). "Dynasty Warriors 7 Gets Extremely Inappropriate Collaboration Content". Andriasang. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  12. ^ "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure's Owson Store Recreated in Real Life". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  13. ^ Kameda, Masaaki (8 October 2013). "Japanese convenience store chain going healthy". The Japan Times. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Lawson to buy supermarket chain Seijo Ishii for $500 million. Reuters, 30 September 2014
  18. ^ "Lawson to enter banking business in 2018". GPlusMedia Co., Ltd. Japan Today. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  19. ^ [1] Lawson Opening in Hawaii
  20. ^ a b [2] Two Lawsons Opened in Honolulu
  21. ^ Abraham, Lisa (July 8, 2012). "Lawson's returns to the U.S.". Akron: Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ Lawson Station prepares for grand opening
  23. ^ Tokyo Weekender Solar Convenience Stores May 9, 2012 Retrieved on September 26, 2012
  24. ^ Nikkei Lawson To Generate Solar Power At 2,000 Stores June 29, 2012 Retrieved on September 26, 2012
  25. ^ Solar Frontier Japanese Convenience Store Chain Lawson Chooses Solar Frontier Panels July 9, 2012 Retrieved on September 26, 2012
  26. ^ Lawson Indonesia
  27. ^

External links[edit]