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FamilyMart to appoint Itochu executive as president

Convenience store chain looks to up its game in saturated market

Kensuke Hosomi, an executive officer in parent Itochu, a huge trading company, will start his new role on March 1.

TOKYO -- FamilyMart will appoint Kensuke Hosomi, an executive officer from its parent Itochu, as the new president in a move to strengthen competitiveness in a mature convenience store market, Nikkei has learned.

Hosomi, 58, will take over on March 1. Current FamilyMart President Takashi Sawada, 63, will become vice chairman.

Itochu has raised its stake in the convenience store chain last year through a tender to make it a de facto wholly owned subsidiary.

After starting his career as the chief of FamilyMart in Sept. 2016, Sawada -- who spent years at Itochu before moving to Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing and later started his own fund -- implemented a number of restructuring measures, including closing unprofitable stores and offering early retirement to 10% of employees.

As Japanese convenience chains faced a saturated market, Sawada changed the 24-hour operation clause in its franchise agreements, for years a given but which has become unpopular.

Hosomi joined trading company Itochu in 1986, working in the textile sector for most of his career and strengthening his marketing skills. Since July 2019, he has been heading 8th Company, a digitally focused subsidiary of the Itochu group that manages retailers.

Hosomi aims to implement a new growth strategy, including the launch of services leveraging the customer base of FamiPay, the convenience store's payment service.

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