Parent Company: Mitsubishi Corporation
Brand value: $1,628 million
Headquarter city: Tokyo
Year formed: 1975
Lawson is Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain, with more than 14,000 stores throughout the country plus another 2,210 overseas. The company’s name originates from a milk store run by J.J. Lawson in Ohio, USA (hence, the brand’s milk can logo). The brand’s former parent company, Daiei, brought over the Lawson brand in 1975 to develop a delicatessen-style restaurant chain; from there, the company developed as a convenience store powerhouse, and in 1997 became the first convenience chain to operate stores in every Japanese prefecture. The Mitsubishi Corporation became Lawson’s majority shareholder in 2001, and absorbed Lawson as a full subsidiary in 2017. Today, the store operates across a variety of formats, including Lawson, Natural Lawson (health-focused), and Lawson Store 100 (budget-focused). The chain offers most of the typical Japanese convenience store products and is especially beloved for its chicken menu items. It has stayed top-of-mind thanks to a variety of brand activations across manga, video games, and other forms of popular culture. The aim is to be more than just a convenience store, but rather a 24-hour community cornerstone – a goal reflected in the brand’s corporate philosophy, “We will make our Machi (town) live with everyone happy.” In order to capture more revenue from in-store ATMs, Lawson launched its own bank in 2018. Its innovation labs have also recently focused on ways to automate and improve its POS cash registers, with new prototypes debuting in 2019 that aim to speed up cashier transaction. It’s parent company Mitsubishi Corporation is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.