Lawson China stores hit 5,000

The Japanese convenience store chain opened 534 new stores in China in the first half of 2022.

Photo from CFP

Photo from CFP

By WU Rong


Japanese convenience store franchise chain Lawson, in the past six months, has seen a net increase of 534 stores to 5,000.

Lawson’s growth has far exceeded that of FamilyMart and 7-Eleven. As of the end of 2021, the number of FamilyMart and 7-ELEVEN stores was 2,902 and 2,893 respectively.

In 1996, Lawson opened its first store in Shanghai. In 2017, the company expanded nationwide.

Lawson China adopts a flexible franchise model and acquires local convenience stores. When expanding into new regions, Lawson looks for large regional partners, sets up joint ventures with them, or licenses out its brand. 

Last October, Lawson China acquired 100 percent of nearly 2,000 WOWO convenience stores, most of which are in Chengdu.

A search on Heimao Complaints, a domestic consumer complaint platform, turned up more than 500 complaints about Lawson, many of which involved issues such as the sale of expired food, high prices, and foreign objects in food.