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Thursday, July 12, 2007 1:42 am

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7-Eleven world’s largest chain store

7-Eleven’s holding company, the Japanese Seven & I Holdings Co., announced on Tuesday that there are now more than 32,000 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout the world - making 7-Eleven the largest chain store all categories, beating the previous record-holder McDonald’s Corporation by approximately 1000 retail outlets.

The announcement was made on Tuesday, to coincide with 7-Eleven’s 80th anniversary.

At the end of March, the number of 7-Eleven stores worldwide had increased by 2148 compared to the same period last year, to a total of 32,208 stores, outnumbering McDonald’s 31,062 stores. When comparing the number of countries each chain is active in, McDonald’s is still the king, however - McDonald’s has stores in 118 different countries, compared to 7-Eleven which only owns stores in 17 different countries.

Japan is 7-Eleven’s largest market, with more than a third of its convenience stores located there (11,704 stores). Second largest is the U.S. (6,031), third Taiwan (4,511) and fourth Thailand (3,912).

7-Eleven was founded in 1927 when a Southland Ice Company employee started selling convenience items outside the company, at an improvised storefront. The name 7-Eleven has been in use since 1946. In 1991, a subsidy of the Japanese Supermarket chain Ito-Yokado (now 7-Eleven Japan) purchased a majority interest in the Southland Corporation, and eventually changed its name to 7-Eleven, Inc in 1999.

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