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    Seven & I Sees Huge Potential in the U.S.

    7-Eleven parent may more than double its North America store count through acquisitions.

    TOKYO – 7-Eleven parent company Seven & I Holdings Co. plans to make major acquisitions in North America that could more than double its store count there, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report.

    The company may increase its North America store count to 20,000 or even 30,000, Toshifumi Suzuki, chairman and CEO of Seven & I Holdings, said during a May 30 interview. He did not offer a timetable for such expansion.

    Seven & I, the largest convenience store operator in the world by number of outlets, purchased 662 c-stores in North America during its last fiscal year, company spokesman Nobuyuki Miyaji stated. The company had 50,254 locations worldwide and 8,116 within the United States as of March. Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., a Seven & I subsidiary, operates, franchises and licenses more than 10,100 7-Eleven stores in North America.

    "We will raise the quality of operations, and we will go into the areas where we don't have outlets," Suzuki said.

    With a 24-percent market share in the U.S. convenience store industry, Seven & I is already far ahead of its next-largest competitor, Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which has a 1.6-percent share of the U.S. c-store channel, according to the report.

    Seven & I's North American outlets reportedly make up approximately a quarter of group sales. In April, Seven & I predicted that 7-Eleven Inc. will deliver $17.9 billion in sales for the year ending December, up 44 percent from last year, and that profit may increase 13 percent to $540 million.

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