Seven & i mulls capital investment abroad: president
Japanese retail giant shifts away from hands-off approach
TAKASHI KAWAKAMI, Nikkei staff writer
HO CHI MINH CITY -- Seven-Eleven opened its first convenience store in Vietnam here Thursday, part of a stronger hand in overseas businesses by parent Seven & i Holdings that could include capital investments abroad, President Ryuichi Isaka says.
The Seven & i chief spoke with The Nikkei and other media outlets. Excerpts follow.
Q: With the foray into Vietnam, the company has established a presence in almost all of Asia.
A: Of the 62,000 or so 7-Eleven stores around the world, about 30,000 are in Asia excluding Japan. We consider Asia a very important region. We will continue opening stores where the needs are. It might be interesting to choose locations by city rather than country.
Q: What is the rationale for stronger involvement by Seven & i, after letting a U.S. subsidiary handle overseas operations till now?
A: Some stores in certain areas have exceptionally low sales in terms of purchasing power parity, when compared with other areas. We must take action in such cases. We began sending staffers from Japan to improve the overall supply chain, including stores and merchandise, in Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. Sales in these areas are rising.
Although we have used licensing agreements with local companies to expand operations abroad, [Seven & i] may make capital contributions in the future. If the investments help create an environment for Japanese boxed-meal makers and others to launch overseas operations with peace of mind, that would be a positive for the Japanese food industry.