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TOKYO --Lawson, Japan's second-largest convenience store chain, will open two stores in Honolulu, Hawaii, this summer with plans to expand further within the state and eventually to the U.S. mainland, according to a just-food.com report.
The new stores, located in the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel and the Moana Surfrider Westin Resort & Spa, are set to open in late June or early July. They will be managed by a local Lawson subsidiary created in January.
The company's goals for the Hawaiian stores include gaining knowledge of local consumers and introducing U.S. tourists to the chain, according to the report.
"We eventually aim to open between 30 and 50 outlets in Hawaii," said a company spokesperson, who added that U.S. market is a major priority for Lawson CEO Takeshi Niinami. "Niinami views the US market as second only to the Asian market in Lawson's strategy."
The spokesman did not offer an estimated timetable for the expansion or details on Lawson's first planned mainland outfits, but they confirmed that the company will open a Silicon Valley data center to analyze information gathered by Japanese loyalty card Ponta in order to assess its U.S. prospects.
Lawson and Japanese competitors FamilyMart and 7-Eleven parent Seven & I Holdings have reportedly stated that there is only room for 5,000 new c-stores in Japan, increasing the importance of overseas expansion.