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Seven & I plans to triple China network

While Japanese retailer Seven & I, which owns the 7-Eleven brand, has seen sales sliding, it plans to triple its network of supermarkets and department stores in China.

The company aims to capitalise on the high growth in Sichuan province to grow its general merchandise store network there to 20 outlets by 2020.

Its local subsidiary will increase its Ito Yokado-branded stores to 10 in the region, while one Ito Yokado supermarket will open in southern Chengdu next year with plans to launch as many as 10 locations in the city by 2020, says Ito Yokado head of Chinese operations Tomohiro Saegusa.

Ito Yokado will also set up a company to sell Japanese products online, aiming for sales of ¥10 billion (US$85.7 million) by 2020. The company may use the free trade zone planned by Sichuan province.

Meanwhile, group total sales continued to slide for a second consecutive quarter for Seven & I, which owns the 7-Eleven brand. Its third-quarter sales fell by 1.4 per cent to ¥7909 billion. However, its operating profit improved by 5 per cent for the quarter ended November 30.

With more than 19,000 stores, 7-Eleven Japan has achieved continued growth. Total sales grew by 5.5 per cent to ¥3422 billion and operating profit reached ¥187.1 billion for its latest nine months, up 4 per cent year-on-year.

Seven & I says 7-Eleven’s product strategy has largely driven its success. The retailer captured expanding demand for ready-made take-home meals, spurred by a rise in dual-income and elderly households. Private-label products rake in more than ¥10 billion in sales a year, showing the benefits of scale.

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