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7-Eleven outlets in Japan top 20,000, a record among domestic chains

A 7-Eleven store is seen at JR Osaka Station in this March 24, 2017 file photo. (Mainichi)

Seven-Eleven Japan Co. announced on Jan. 31 that the number of its 7-Eleven convenience stores in the country has reached 20,033, the first feat of its kind achieved by a domestic retail chain.

"We will aim for further advancements as a livelihood infrastructure," commented a company representative about the milestone.

The first 7-Eleven store opened in Tokyo's Toyosu district in May 1974, after which other outlets popped up through the franchising of existing retail shops to eventually cover 46 of the country's 47 prefectures -- except Okinawa Prefecture. In 2003, the number of 7-Eleven outlets topped 10,000.

On Jan. 31 alone, a total of 54 new 7-Eleven stores opened in Tokyo, Hokkaido and 23 other prefectures. The Tokyo-based convenience store giant plans to make a foray into the Okinawa market in fiscal 2019.

The company enjoys continued brisk sales of its mainstay products such as rice balls and "bento" lunch boxes, while diversifying services to allow customers to pay utility bills and receive parcels over the counter. The firm eyes the launch of about 1,600 new outlets by February 2019 -- the same level as in the previous business term, as it aspires to further expand its store networks.

It is the first time for the number of outlets run by a domestic retail chain to have topped the 20,000 mark.

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