I am Takashi Sawada. I was appointed as representative director and president on May 1, 2019.
In September 2016, the Company embarked upon a new beginning as a chain with Groupwide sales approaching ￥4 trillion. The Group is advancing concerted efforts based on its "Everyday Fun and Fresh" Group principles. Through these measures, we will constantly create new value and help make customers' lives more fun and fresh every day.
The extent to which customers can be attracted to visit stores has been one of the most important issues facing the retail industry in recent years. In order to fully leverage the strengths provided by our network of brick-and-mortar stores, centered on convenience stores, across Japan, I believe it is necessary to create systems that once again make customers look forward to visiting our stores. To realize that aim, my role is to create an environment under strong leadership that maximizes added value from the customer's perspective by optimizing the allocation of Groupwide management resources, such as funds and human resources, and pursuing synergies.
In our convenience store business, we completed the conversion of Circle K and Sunkus stores to the FamilyMart brand at the end of November 2018, thereby realizing a store foundation comprising approximately 16,500 stores in Japan. In fiscal 2019, we will rapidly implement four strategies to further reinforce this foundation. While giving the highest priority to enhancing support for franchised stores, we will strengthen store profitability, move forward with the shift to digital, and promote business collaboration with Pan Pacific International Holdings Corporation (PPIH). In addition, we will continue to work together with PPIH, to which all of the Company's shares in UNY Co., Ltd. were transferred in fiscal 2018, to pursue the joint development of products and services, cooperation in the financial services field, and joint development of overseas businesses.
On September 1, 2019, we will carry out the absorption-type merger of our wholly owned subsidiary, FamilyMart Co., Ltd., and subsequently change our company name to FamilyMart Co., Ltd. The entire company will work in unison under the slogan of One FamilyMart in order to contribute to local communities while engaging with customers in their respective regions as if they were family. We ask for your continued support as we strive to create such an attractive company going forward.
Representative Director and President