Seven & i to More Than Double Store Count in North America

Published in CSP Daily News

Tokyo-based 7-Eleven owner plans more U.S. acquisitions

TOKYO -- Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd., the Tokyo-based parent company of 7-Eleven Inc., Dallas, plans more acquisitions in the United States and may more than double its number of convenience stores in North America as early as 2014 as consumer spending improves.

In North America, the company "could increase our store number to 20,000 or even 30,000," chairman Toshifumi Suzuki said in a May 30 interview with Bloomberg. It currently has more than 8,000 outlets in the region.

"There will be a huge potential in expansion in large cities in the U.S.," Dairo Murata, analyst at JPMorgan Securities Japan Co., told the news agency. "There are over 50,000 convenience stores in Japan with 120 million people. Considering the U.S. population is about 300 million, there is an unlimited potential."

Seven & i, the world's largest c-store operator by number of outlets, has been buying small and medium-sized chains in the United States as it tries to strengthen the competitiveness of the local unit. The company bought 662 c-stores in North America in its last fiscal year, spokesperson Nobuyuki Miyaji told Bloomberg.

"We will raise the quality of operations, and we will go into the areas where we don't have outlets," Suzuki said. The company will continue to make acquisitions in the United States, he said.

In Oct. 2012, Seven & i established a new company incorporated in the state of Delaware. Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Seven & i, will establish SEJ Asset Management & Investment, which will use its capital to support the business expansion initiatives of 7-Eleven in the United States.

Seven & i had a 24% market share in the U.S. convenience store industry last year, the largest in the country, followed by the 1.6% for Circle K owner Canada-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and 0.1% for Cary, N.C.-based The Pantry Inc., according to the report, citing London-based research firm Euromonitor International.

Seven & i had 50,254 c-stores worldwide with 8,116 outlets in the United States as of March this year, according to the company's website.