With the trend toward nuclear families, there are often fewer people whom parents can easily turn to with questions about raising their children. In light of this, Seven & i Holdings offers various types of support related to childcare through its stores.
As of February 29, 2020, Ito-Yokado and Sogo & Seibu provide maternity and childcare consultation offices at 108 stores and Pre-Mama Stations at five stores. Here, public health nurses and midwives give counseling free of charge to pregnant women on their health and to mothers on childcare. They also provide rest areas equipped with booths for breastfeeding, a water heater for milk formula, and toilets for children.
Childcare consultation office
|Number of Ito-Yokado Childcare Consultations (Users)|
Ito-Yokado holds various events to provide childcare advice and encourage mutual interaction between guardians. The company also actively takes part in events with universities, municipalities and several product manufacturers to maintain and promote the health of mothers, offer techniques for relaxation and rejuvenation and provide helpful childcare-related information. The overarching theme of the events is “enjoyment at home through public-private-academic partnerships,” and through these events, we are helping to expand community childcare support networks.
A childcare support event sponsored by public-private-academic partnership
To support career education at elementary, junior high, high schools, and universities, the Seven & i Group cooperates with requests from schools by sending out employees to each school, by providing workplace tours, and by holding workplace experience programs at its Group stores, where children have the chance to take part in conducting familiar retail store operations.
For example, York provides an opportunity to observe the food processing operations and to practice stocking the shelves in the store with products. Around 7,000 elementary and junior high school students participate each year. Ito-Yokado also conducts workplace experience programs at its stores where each year around 9,000 children and students participate. They come up with their own proposals by making product coordination, and suggestions for customers through in-store sampling, while experiencing firsthand the importance of complying with basic standards to ensure safety and confidence.
In addition, Seven & i Food Systems holds workplace experience programs where students can try working as the manager of a restaurant or learn about the importance of ingredients control and hospitality through actual experience. The program was attended by children and students from 120 schools in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020.
The Seven & i Group training facility, Ito Training Center, provides sales space creation and food processing experiences, as well as opportunities to provide service from various customer perspectives, such as helping customers in wheelchairs and so on. Through these experiences, the students can feel the value of working and the joy of interacting with customers.
Learning about cash registers through hands-on experience at Ito Training Center
Furthermore, Seven-Eleven Japan has a store in Shinagawa Student City, which has been run jointly by Shinagawa Ward and Junior Achievement Japan since 2003. The concept of Shinagawa Student City is to create a virtual town inside an elementary school, with various companies setting up shops and providing experience of working and society. The children working in the 7-Eleven store experience customer service, sales space creation, and other operations to learn about the systems of society. In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, 2,223 children participated in the store and learned about the joy and challenges of working through customer service and retail sales.
Shinagawa Student City
Seven-Eleven Japan holds outreach classes at an elementary school in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward in March 2019 as a part of the Yomiuri Education Network, which seeks to increase interactions between companies and schools. The class involves group work in which 7-Eleven stores are established in fictitious towns on a map. Through the group work, the children come to understand in a fun way the roles that 7-Eleven plays in society. At the same time, they learn about how the products and services of 7-Eleven—which aims to build stores that are convenient and close to people—have changed (CRM strategy* and response to SDGs) in accordance to the changes in society (changes in customers’ needs). The class provides a good opportunity for children to think about their society from the everyday perspective of a convenience store.
*CRM strategy: Customer Relationship Management Strategy
This is a management strategy/method aimed at expanding sales and improving profitability through improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Outreach class in progress
Seven Bank supports the publication of “Bonolon, Warrior of the Forest” (approximately one million copies on even months), a picture book that parents can read to their children to foster communication. The bank also distributes picture books free of charge, and regularly holds storytelling sessions by employees at children’s centers and other places for children. Storytelling sessions are also held at Denny’s restaurants, which are managed by Seven & i Food Systems.
Storytelling session led by employee volunteers
The Seven & i Group promotes dietary education activities for children to raise people who understand foods through various experiences and can practice sound and healthy dietary habits. For example, Seven & i Food Systems distributes a booklet called “Bonolon and Food” at its chain of Denny’s restaurants. The booklet contains important information about food manners and knowledge and teaches children about the correct eating habits using games and quizzes.
In addition, dietary education classes for children were held a total of nine times at Denny’s restaurants in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. These are opportunities for children to learn about how to use chopsticks, how to use knives, forks, and spoons, and other basic table manners. They are also opportunities to learn about vegetables in an enjoyable way through explanations using ingredient-themed panels and quizzes.
©Coamix, © Together with Bonolon, 2007
Free dietary education booklet “Bonolon and Food”
Dietary education class
Sogo & Seibu works with the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP)* on a project for sending pairs of shoes to children in Zambia. The company has established areas to accept children’s shoes donations in all of its stores. The shoes they receive from customers help to prevent tetanus and parasitic infections resulting from foot injuries to children with bare feet. They are sent through JOICFP to children in Zambia. As of February 29, 2020, Sogo & Seibu had sent about 950,000 pairs of shoes since 2009.
Akachan Honpo and Sogo & Seibu have been providing sponsorship for the White Ribbon Campaign launched by JOICFP to protect the health of pregnant women and babies throughout the world. The Group companies have been working in partnership with JOICFP on the Community Safe Motherhood Project (which involves the donation of funds to establish Maternity Waiting Houses in Zambia). Besides accepting donations on behalf of JOICFP through its stores and online, the two companies have also installed 60 White Ribbon Campaign Vending Machines at locations throughout Japan (Akachan Honpo 44 machines, Sogo & Seibu 16 machines) as of February 29, 2020. For every beverage purchased from one of these machines, the companies donate \2 to JOICFP (\1 from the beverage manufacturer and \1 from the store where the machine is installed). In addition, Sogo & Seibu has created a White Ribbon pin badge for sale, from which all proceeds are donated to the White Ribbon Campaign.
A White Ribbon beverage vending machine
A White Ribbon pin badge