Seiyu GK is a Japanese group of supermarkets, shopping centers and department stores owned by American retail giant Walmart. Its head office is in Akabane, Kita, Tokyo.
The group was established in December 1946, and was formed in 1956 by Seibu Department Stores, a group company of Seibu Railway. In 1980, Seiyu launched its private brand Mujirushi-Ryōhin (commonly known as MUJI outside Japan). MUJI was transferred to the Ryohin Keikaku Company in 1990, and is no longer part of Seiyu.
On December 31, 2003, Seiyu and Walmart signed a partnership agreement in which Walmart would teach global supply chain practices. Numazu, Shizuoka was the site of the first Seiyu store using Walmart methods.
Walmart bought a 37 percent stake in Seiyu in 2002, and according to a company press release, in late 2005, Walmart acquired a majority stake in the company, which it has since increased to 100% ownership in 2008.
Previously, the company had a registered office in Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo.
In 2019, Walmart named Lionel Desclée, formerly of Delhaize and the Belgian pet shop chain Tom&Co, president and CEO of both Seiyu and Walmart Japan. In remarks after his appointment, he said Walmart had no interest in selling Seiyu. However, that June, Walmart outlined plans to relist Seiyu on the stock market.
In 2020, Walmart announced they would be selling 65% of their shares in the company to private-equity firm KKR in a deal valuing 329 stores and 34,600 employees at $1.6 billion. Walmart is supposed to retain 15% and a seat on the board, while Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. will receive 20%.