We aim to achieve sustainable earnings
growth and make ongoing
social contributions through our business. Chief Executive Ofiicer
Representative Director Takeshi Niinami
I would like to begin by expressing my profound condolences to all who have suffered from the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011, just after Lawson's fiscal year ended on February 28, 2011. We are determined to make our best effort to support recovery and restoration in the damaged areas, including the building of new communities.
The disaster has reminded me, as CEO of Lawson, how valuable is our corporate philosophy, "Creating Happiness and Harmony in Our Communities" which is the starting point of Lawson. After the earthquake, I organized an ad hoc team and told its members "This is an emergency that is threatening lives in many communities. Let's do our best in supporting damage-stricken areas, without worrying about expenses." Our top priority was uninterrupted supply of food, water, and daily necessities. I am grateful that all our employees, franchise owners, and suppliers quickly and voluntarily acted in ways consistent with our corporate philosophy.
I strongly believe that Lawson's best social contribution is to realize our mission of "Whatever you want, whenever and wherever you need" and this is how I manage the company. I equally emphasize the maintenance of sustained growth - which the company has achieved since I became CEO.
Social contribution AND earnings growth are equally important and neither one is indispensable. In fiscal 2010, we increased operating income by 10.5% year-on-year to set a new record-high operating income for the eighth consecutive year. Contributions to this came from measures we took, such as the full-fledged activation of our new backbone IT system (called PRiSM), improved understanding of customer requirements and preferences through collection and analysis of card data, and product development based on our customer profiles and raw material purchasing capability. In addition to numerical achievement of goals, we succeeded in expanding our customer base by adding women and seniors, both of which are customer groups we have sought to serve better for many years.
While the earthquake of March will inevitably influence Lawson in fiscal 2011, we are not intimidated. We will aim to achieve sustained earnings growth which is our promise to our shareholders. Our human resources have been strengthened, by inviting competent people from outside to join our management team and by developing next generation management candidates. We will defend and solidify our base in the disaster-stricken areas and manage in an aggressive manner in other regions. This is how we will take up the challenge to achieve record-high income for the ninth consecutive year.