Convenience retailer Lawson and pharmacy chain Matsumotokiyoshi have agreed to a broad joint venture that will include new stores selling over the counter medicines, in a move aiming to strengthen their competitive edge.

The first store is set to open as early as next spring. The stores will combine each company’s expertise in their respective markets to sell pharmaceuticals and provide advice on medication.

The retailers said they will co-develop an own-brand range of medicines to be sold in the stores, as well as own-brand cosmetics.