Uber Eats, Japan convenience store Lawson form delivery tie-up

FILE PHOTO - Uber Eats workers wait for orders in central Kiev, Ukraine July 31, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

TOKYO (Reuters) - Uber Eats and Japanese convenience store chain Lawson 2651.T on Tuesday announced a delivery partnership in central Tokyo, seeking to capitalize on growing demand for quick home delivery of food and everyday items.

Lawson said it will start selling around 100 products including bento boxes, fried chicken and tissue paper through Uber Eats starting on Thursday, initially for users near its stores in Shinjuku and Shinagawa before a later expansion.

The country’s third-biggest convenience store, which currently does not offer an online delivery service, said the next three months will be an experimental phase, during which it will study sales data before considering a broader launch.

Uber Eats' delivery bikes and scooters are an increasingly common sight in Tokyo even as its parent Uber Technologies' UBER.N ride-hailing service is still banned in Japan.

Uber will not reveal user numbers, but says it now has partnerships with 10,000 restaurants in Japan, including the multiple stores of chains such as McDonald's 2702.T and KFC 9873.T, compared with 150 when it started in 2016.

The move also comes as Lawson and bigger rivals 7-Eleven 3382.T and FamilyMart 8028.T face a slowdown after years of expansion, with analysts citing saturation, competition from discount drugstores and a shrinking labor force.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by Gopakumar Warrier