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Japan's Seven & i Expands 7-Eleven Empire With Purchase Of Australian Franchise

By Reuters
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Japan's Seven & i Expands 7-Eleven Empire With Purchase Of Australian Franchise

Japanese retail conglomerate Seven & i Holdings has agreed to purchase the 7-Eleven convenience store chain in Australia for A$1.71 billion (€1 billion), further expanding its ownership of the brand.

The Australian convenience and petrol retailer, owned by the Withers and Barlow families, kickstarted the process to sell the business – which consists of 751 stores – earlier this year.

'Clear Industry Leader'

The deal will allow Seven & i to establish 'itself as the clear industry leader in the Australian convenience store market, which has significant growth potential,' the Japanese company said in a statement.

It added that it saw room for further growth by actively opening new stores in most Australian states.

Seven & i's corporate predecessor first licensed the 7-Eleven franchise from US-based Southland Corp in 1973. But the Japanese conglomerate later took over the US company in 1991 and now controls more than 80,000 7-Eleven convenience stores around the globe.

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Its sprawling retail empire also includes Speedway gas stations in the US and Ito-Yokado supermarkets in Japan.

In July, the convenience store operator, has reported a nearly 20% fall in first-quarter operating profit to 81.99 billion yen (€530 million) for the three months ended 31 May, from 102.37 billion yen (€660 million) in same period a year earlier.

Under Pressure To Restructure

The company has, however, come under pressure by analysts and investors to restructure and shed underperforming assets.

Earlier this year, Seven & i faced down a board challenge from US-based activist fund ValueAct Capital which had urged the company to consider a spin-off of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain.

Seven & i has since taken some steps to reshape its structure. This year it closed 14 Ito-Yokado supermarket stores in Japan, exited its apparel business, and completed a sale of its Sogo & Seibu department store unit.

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