SoftBank, Yahoo Japan, Aeon plan to launch online retail business: NHK

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TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp, Yahoo Japan Corp and Aeon Co Ltd plan to launch an online retail business, national broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.

The online business will sell products including food, clothes and everyday goods, NHK said citing unnamed sources, in what would be the latest tie-up between companies in Japan looking to bolster their online offerings as they face stiffer competition from Amazon.

Representatives of the three companies were not immediately available to comment.

The tie-up would allow the companies to share SoftBank and Yahoo Japan’s customer base and data analysis abilities with Aeon’s wide product range and distribution network, NHK said.

SoftBank could provide labor-saving robotics to Aeon stores, NHK said without giving further details.

Last month Walmart and Rakuten Inc said they would launch an online grocery delivery service. Seven and i Holdings Co Ltd, operator of Japan’s largest chain of convenience stores, announced last year it would cooperate on fresh food delivery with Askul Corp.

Amazon is increasing its range of services in Japan, trialing its “Fresh” food delivery service in parts of Tokyo, and opening a large photography studio in Tokyo this spring as it moves to ramp up its fashion range.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Stephen Coates

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