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KYOTO, Japan -- FamilyMart Co. expects its money-losing business in China to turn a profit by 2015, according to its president, Junji Ueda.
In a recent interview with The Japan Times, Ueda explained that FamilyMart's China business has been in the red due to the substantial investment required to open convenience stores in that country. However, he forecast that its stores in Shanghai will turn a profit in 2012 and its overall business in China will be in the black by 2015.
According to the report, FamilyMart plans to open around 4,500 stores by 2015 -- a sixfold increase on the current number.
"After making the business profitable, we will accelerate the launch of new stores," Ueda said, suggesting the company may increase the number of stores it plans to open by 2020. The number of new stores planned by 2020 is about 8,000.
Ueda said the convenience store operator is aiming to boost its overseas business by expanding operations in countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, as it sees few opportunities for growth in the domestic market.
Separately, Reuters reported today that Japan's five major convenience store operators together will open more than 3,400 outlets in fiscal 2012, about 40 to 60 percent more than the number of stores opened in the past year. Seven & i Holdings Co.'s Seven-Eleven Japan division plans to open 1,350 sites, many in the earthquake-ravaged northeastern Japan. All together, Seven-Eleven, FamilyMart, Lawson, Circle K Sunkus and Ministop will open between 3,460 and 3,610 new stores.