Retail & Consumer Service Division
The Retail & Consumer Service Division is focused on a diverse range of businesses that respond to consumer needs both in Japan and overseas. These businesses include food distribution, consumer goods distribution, aquaculture, shopping center management, and real estate. At the same time, this division is enhancing its retail digital transformation and marketing functions.
Strengths of the Division
- ●Networks and customer bases established over many years throughout Asia
- ●Retail businesses developed to meet the needs of ASEAN countries based on their stage of development
- ●Expertise in management and investment for increasing value of shopping centers
- ●Supply base for food products and consumer goods matched to diversifying lifestyles
- ●Top market share in importing frozen North American beef to Japan
- ●Increase in demand in India and the ASEAN region accompanying an expansion of the middle-income segment due to economic development in these areas
- ●Rising demand for Japanese technologies to improve productivity and to address the higher labor costs that stem from labor shortages
- ●Rising interest in Japan’s food culture (including Japanese cuisine) and diversification of food
- ●Changes and diversification of consumer purchasing habits due to rising health consciousness and popularization of e-commerce
- ●Demand in Japanese society for women’s participation in the workforce; demand for talent development and new job/industry creation in Asian countries
- ●Revisions to legal and regulatory systems in Asian countries
- ●Cost increases due to stricter food quality control in Asia
- ●Pressure on earnings from businesses and trading due to drastic fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and increases in raw material prices
- ●Increase in risks related to human rights and environmental issues due to expansion of manufacturing businesses
- ●Shrinkage of market associated with population decline in Japan
- ●Effects of future changes in work and lifestyle habits on the real estate industry
The COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of subsiding, and the outlook remains opaque as a result. Nevertheless, we are witnessing recovery in previously depressed consumption levels. At the same time, there have been substantial changes in lifestyles and consumption trends, which can be viewed as representing an important turning point that shows consumers’ tastes and needs are becoming more diverse than ever before.
The Retail & Consumer Service Division has continued to develop a diverse range of operations aimed at enriching and bringing convenience to people’s lives with a focus on customerbased businesses in the consumer market. Advancing further in this regard, we will look to grow market-oriented service businesses in order to accommodate diversifying consumer tastes and needs and address changes in industry structures.
In the year ending March 31, 2023, we anticipate a phased recovery in domestic consumer demand from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with earnings growth in ASEAN retail businesses. A major pillar of the Retail & Consumer Service Division’s growth strategies in this year will be the expansion of operations and the augmentation of functions in the ASEAN region, which is expected to continue experiencing economic growth going forward. Moreover, the division will reform existing business models and strengthen and grow earnings foundations through the construction of new business platforms in Vietnam, India, and other emerging markets.
Moreover, Marine Foods, a marine food product processing company acquired in the year ended March 31, 2022, will pursue the reinforcement and expansion of its overseas operations by combining its customer base and product development and processing functions with Sojitz’s global network. We will also look to strengthen businesses in the domestic retail field through Marine Foods.
We are developing retail businesses that meet the needs of ASEAN countries based on their stage of development. Our focus is on developing four businesses in Vietnam: processing and production of prepared food, four-temperature controlled logistics (ambient temperature, fixed temperature, chilled, and frozen), wholesale food and consumer goods, and retail (convenience stores). In addition, through the capital and business tie-up formed with Royal Holdings in February 2021, we aim to develop a more diverse and broader range of businesses catering to consumers in Japan and overseas.
■Shopping Center Management Business
Sojitz Commerce Development Corporation, as the core of the shopping center management business, has continued to utilize its solid track record in operating and improving the value of shopping centers since its founding in 2001. Going forward, we will work to help invigorate local communities by utilizing digital technologies to energize the shopping centers that function as a central component of communities.
■Food Distribution Businesses
Sojitz acquired all shares of marine food processing company The Marine Foods Corporation in March 2022 and then invested in Tastable Co., Ltd., a company that develops, designs, and sells NIKUVEGE plant-based meat, in June 2022.
In this business, we supply consumers around the world with safe foods by calling upon the expertise of numerous Sojitz Group companies. These companies include Sojitz Foods Corporation, which boasts the leading domestic share of frozen beef imports from North America; Sojitz Tuna Farm Takashima Co., Ltd., a tuna farming company; and Meat One Corporation, a marketing company that merges the expertise and functions of multiple companies involved in the procurement, sales, processing, and distribution of meat products.
■Domestic Real Estate
As part of its ownership and development of residential housing, office buildings, hotels, and other real estate, Sojitz has created a value chain encompassing asset management and operation of these assets, and thereby has fostered a balanced earnings foundation. In March 2022, an agreement was reached with Goldman Sachs to establish a new joint venture company for developing operations for adding value to rental housing. As a major player in Japan’s rental residential housing market, we aim to provide more comfortable living environments while also offering a wide range of investing opportunities.
Collaboration and Market-Oriented Initiatives
Investment in NIKUVEGE Plant-based Meat Supplier Tastable
In June 2022, Fuji Nihon Seito Corporation and Sojitz commenced joint investment in Tastable Co., Ltd., a developer, designer, and seller of NIKUVEGE plant-based meat and other food products
Through this investment in Tastable, the companies aim to accelerate growth through a focus on R&D of new materials, increases to sales both in Japan and overseas, and the creation of business opportunities in related fields compatible with the plant-based meat business. Sojitz Foods and Meat One have well established sales channels for livestock products and advanced manufacturing and processing technologies. By combining such strengths of the Sojitz Group, we will provide raw material procurement, manufacturing, sales, and marketing functions to develop, manufacture, and sell these products for wholesale and commercial consumption.
This partnership is expected to help us supply safe and tasty plant-based meat while also contributing to the resolution of social issues related to protein shortages amid rising health consciousness and global population growth.
Joint Initiatives with Marine Foods and Royal Holdings
Acquired in March 2022, The Marine Foods Corporation is a marine food processing company boasting strength in sushi and processed marine food products as well as a customer base of some 4,000 companies. By generating synergies between Marine Foods’ management resources and Sojitz’s strengths in the beef business, we look to offer an increasingly wide range of proposals to users in the restaurant, retail chain, and other industries.
We also intend to accelerate our global expansion efforts in light of the growth anticipated in the global marine food products market amid diversifying diets and rising health consciousness.
Moreover, our ingredient value chains will be utilized to develop more appealing menus for consumers in Japan and overseas through co-creation with Royal Holdings Co., Ltd.
MF Vietnam Ltd.