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    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    Japan chains report huge quarterly gains; Shell Canada introduces Krispy Kreme.

    Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and Lawson Inc., Japan's two largest convenience store chains, reported profit gains for the three months ended May 31, aided by the expansion of financial services, including more cash dispensers in outlets.

    Seven-Eleven Japan, a subsidiary of Ito-Yokado Co., said net income for the quarter rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier to 24.2 billion yen ($221 million). Smaller rival Lawson said its profit rose 5.4 percent to 4.98 billion yen ($46 million).

    "Seven-Eleven Japan is profiting from Ito-Yokado's consumer finance unit as its main clothing and household goods sales were sluggish,'' said Kiyokazu Kurauchi, a retail analyst at Yasuda Asset Management Co.

    In other news, Krispy Kreme doughnuts are now available at 15 Shell locations in Metro Toronto, and will be retailed as singles or multiples along with pre-packaged doughnuts, available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Along with Krispy Kreme's signature Original Glazed doughnut, stores will also sell eight to ten other popular Krispy Kreme varieties.

    "Shell is very excited to be one of the few retail brands in Ontario to offer Krispy Kreme doughnuts," said Darlene Barber, vice president of Shell Ontario Markets. "Our customers choose Shell for value, quality and convenience and this new offering is another example of how we deliver on our customer promise."

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