Rakuten Mobile to reduce retail footprint
Rakuten Group reportedly outlined plans to shut 20 per cent of its mobile retail outlets in Japan, as it turns its attention to profitability and cutting costs following a period of rapid expansion.
Nikkei Asia reported the company will reduce the number of Rakuten Mobile retail locations from 1,261 to 1,000, with the bulk of the affected outlets located inside post offices.
The company struck an agreement with Japan Post Group in March 2021 to offer account sign-up counters in post offices for Rakuten Mobile.
It currently has counters at around 280 post offices: the company plans to place flyers at 20,000 post offices nationwide, pushing customers to sign up online.
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Rakuten Mobile made a big push around expanding its retail reach after entering the segment in April 2020, offering attractive data tariff plans including a free option to attract subscribers.
However, the operator is now aiming to hit profitability, while cutting costs, after racking up a net loss of JPY258 billion ($2 billion) in the opening nine months of 2022.
Rakuten Mobile is not the only company in the market reducing its retail footprint. NTT Docomo also plans to close 30 per cent of its domestic retail outlets by April 2025 due to falling footfall.