The convenience store industry faces ongoing reorganization and consolidation, while competition beyond the barrier of business formats is growing ever more intense. On the other hand, the current business environment, with increasing numbers of working women, independent seniors and single-person households, presents enormous opportunities. We are striving to make the most of these opportunities by responding swiftly to market changes and ensuring that MINISTOP differentiates itself from competitors.

In particular, the in-store food preparation know-how which has been honed since MINISTOP's founding is a strength that is unmatched by any of our competitors. Our cold desserts have become a MINISTOP signature, and I am confident that our hot snacks can be much improved as well. We aim to further sharpen our unique edge within the convenience store industry by adding value to our products using our distinctive in-store operations which allow us to provide delicious, freshly prepared foods. Moreover, the position of the convenience store business within the ÆON Group becomes more and more important. Now we are actively utilizing the Group's new customer loyalty program "WAON POINT", which we believe will attract more customers. Also we will continue co-development of new products and services with ÆON.

Listening to our customers is essential for offering attractive products that will make them happier. Making our customers happier is the main driving force to develop and assort new more attractive products. I believe that it is this organic cycle that will help us increase our customer's satisfaction and continue to power MINISTOP's growth. In pursuit of this growth, the franchise stores and headquarters will continue to work as one team to develop stores that customers prefer.

Akihiro Fujimoto President and Representative Director