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IRIVING, Texas — Consumers can expect to see more familiar 7-Eleven signs now that the retail chain's parent company has revealed big plans for the United States.
Seven-Eleven Japan Co. expects to more than double its store count in the United States, increasing its current portfolio of 8,500 to 20,000 stores, President Kazuki Furuya said, according to the Japan Times.
The unit of Japanese retail giant Seven & I Holdings took full control of 7-Eleven Inc. of the United States in 2005. Irving-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises and licenses more than 10,700 7-Eleven stores in North America.
Furuya explained the U.S. unit is prepared to expand its network after introducing Japanese-style product development and services through personnel exchanges with Seven-Eleven Japan.
Traditionally, convenience store customers in the U.S. tended to be lower income. He added, however, that the channel's increased focus on quality products has attracted middle-class consumers.
Seven-Eleven Japan also plans grow its footprint in Japan, from 19,000 stores to more than 20,000, the report added.
Furuya dismissed concerns about saturation in Japan's convenience store sector. He said the stores offer quality products and are more useful than distant supermarkets.
"If convenience stores continue to evolve, there will be chances (to grow)," he said.
In August, 7-Eleven opened its 60,000th global store. The chain now has convenience stores in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia and UAE through area license and master franchise agreements.
The first 7-Eleven store in Vietnam is expected to open next spring, which will extend the retailer's operations to 18 countries, as CSNews Online previously reported.