Top Management Message January 7, 2005

LAWSON today announced its third-quarter operating results for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2005. The Japanese economy moved onto a recovery footing during the period, supported by stronger corporate earnings, a moderate increase in capital expenditure and other factors. Although consumer spending continued to strengthen on the whole, it failed to directly drive growth in the retailing industry overall. Against this backdrop, customer footfall at Lawson stores fell year on year due to poor weather, including a number of typhoons that made landfall in Japan. Despite this, earnings rose over the previous year due to higher markups at existing stores, an increase in the number of stores and strong performances by consolidated subsidiaries. Click here for more details of our third-quarter operating results.

There are now only a few months left of the last year of Lawson Challenge 2004. One of its key initiatives has been to enhance the appeal of rice dishes, part of which was the Onigiriya rice ball project. A number of new rice balls launched to coincide with the second anniversary of Onigiriya, and a new bento-box brand called Gohantei are supporting a firm start to the final quarter of the fiscal year. We are determined to maintain this momentum so as to post strong fiscal 2004 results and to carry this impetus into the next fiscal year. For more details, please refer to our monthly business report.

We are currently formulating our next three-year business plan, which we hope to announce at the earliest opportunity. Essentially though, the main thrust of the plan will be to ensure that each and every Lawson store across Japan's 47 regions is an indispensable part of their respective communities. As I explained in my last message, making customer satisfaction (CS) the bedrock of everything we do will also be extremely important to boosting LAWSON brand equity. To achieve this, every member of the LAWSON family (franchise owners, store managers, store crew and LAWSON employees) has to be totally focused on CS. We plan to invest significant resources in training our people to raise their awareness of CS and enhance their ability to deliver it. This may not be a groundbreaking approach, but I believe the LAWSON family will be vital to supporting stable growth going forward, ultimately helping to raise LAWSON's long-term corporate value.

Expect great things from LAWSON in 2005!

January 7, 2005

Takeshi Niinami
President and CEO

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