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    International News: Seven & I Ramp Up Discount Supermarket Openings

    New stores called The Price will use cost-conscious tactics in Japanese market.

    TOKYO -- The parent company of Dallas-based convenience chain 7-Eleven Inc., Seven & I Holdings Co., plans to create a network of roughly 20 new discount supermarkets called The Price in Japan by the end of February 2010, FoodInternational.com reported.

    The decision to develop the concept follows brisk sales at two similar stores the company opened on an experimental basis, the report stated.

    New stores will replace unprofitable Ito-Yokado supermarkets, and will sell food and other products at prices 10-30 percent below those in conventional Ito-Yokado supermarkets, according to the report. To do so, The Price stores will minimize advertising expenses as well as employ part-time workers to cut labor costs.

    Meanwhile, in the drug channel, Seven & I plans to establish a chain of drugstores across Japan to sell low-priced, over-the-counter medicines, seizing opportunity from upcoming June deregulation allowing sales of such drugs without pharmacists being present, the report stated. To establish this concept, Seven & I will take a majority stake in a yet-to-be-developed joint venture with Ain Pharmacist Inc., with the goal of opening 30 drugstores a year, the Web site reported.

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