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    Japan C-store Giant Lawson Plans Overseas Growth Spurt

    Firm will "seriously consider" acquisition opps.

    TOKYO — Japanese convenience store firm Lawson Inc. plans to speed up its overseas expansion, including in North America, and will consider acquisitions, according to President and CEO Genichi Tamatsuka.

    The chief executive predicts the number of its stores abroad will surpass those in Japan in the next five to 10 years, Reuters reported.

    Lawson currently has 12,395 stores in Japan; 38 in Indonesia; 47 in Thailand; and in China, 458 in Shanghai, 110 in Chongqing, 53 in Dalian and 34 in Beijing. As CSNews Online previously reported, Lawson entered the U.S. market in July 2012 with the opening of two c-stores in Waikiki, Hawaii.

    Its Hawaii stores are located in tourist-heavy locations: the lobby level of the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel; and in a street-front space inside the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa.  

    "I think within five to 10 years, the number of stores we are operating overseas will clearly exceed the stores we are opening in Japan," Tamatsuka told the news outlet. "If there is opportunity for acquisitions, we will seriously consider."

    The rollout of its overseas operations began slowly in 2010, but Lawson now plans to accelerate expansion of its international footprint, Tamatsuka said. "In terms of future growth, I think overseas especially Asian countries, including North America, those are the markets we have to seriously consider," he noted.

    Japan, however, remains an important market for Lawson, Tamatsuka said, with room for growth as new niche categories come out of the aging society, the news outlet reported.

    Lawson forecasted a net income of $317.69 million for its fiscal year ended in February, up 7.7 percent from a year ago.

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