Seven & I Holdings (Japan) advertising & marketing assignments

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Selected Seven & I advertising

Seven & I Holdings is one of Japan's two biggest retail groups, operating a broad portfolio of formats from convenience stores to superstores. The current business was formed from the merger of three separate but inter-linked companies. Superstore giant Ito-Yokado is Japan's equivalent to Walmart or Carrefour, launched by entrepreneur Masatoshi Ito in the 1960s. Later Ito acquired local rights in Japan for family restaurant Denny's and convenience store chain 7-Eleven, and eventually took control of the latter's US parent in 2005, merging all three companies into a single group. In 2006 the group also absorbed Japan's Seibu and Sogo department stores, and owns a sizeable portfolio of other smaller retail-oriented businesses in Japan such as York-Benimaru and York Mart, Tower Records and Barneys, lifestyle chain LOFT and electronic payment card Nanaco. In the domestic market the group also operates a substantial financial services operation, Seven Bank. Unlike its main domestic rival Aeon, Seven & I also has a broad international footprint as a result of 7-Eleven's extensive global network. Launched in the US in 1927, 7-Eleven claims to have invented the concept of the convenience store, selling everyday staples out of an icehouse in Dallas, Texas, initially under the name Tote'm Stores. It adopted the 7-Eleven name in 1946 to reflect its new opening hours. It is certainly the world's largest convenience store business, now with more than 71,000 owned or franchised outlets in 20 countries, including 21,000 in Japan alone. More than 80% of global stores are in the Asia Pacific region, with Thailand and South Korea the next biggest markets by size in 2019 at 11,300 and 9,500 stores respectively. However, the group has also expanded its US footprint further with the acquisition of part of Sunoco's service station network in 2018. A deal struck in 2020 to acquire US gas and convenience rival Speedway in 2020 for $21bn will increase the local store estate to 14,000 outlets. Seven & I's 96-year-old founder remains honorary chairman, as well as one of Japan's 15 richest individuals. The group's 83-year-old chairman & CEO Toshifumi Suzuki, who first introduced the 7-Eleven brand to Japan in the 1970s and oversaw its subsequent expansion, was forced out in 2016 after a boardroom struggle and pressure from activist investors. Ryuichi Isaka, head of 7-Eleven Japan, was appointed as CEO in his place. Joseph DePinto is CEO of 7-Eleven Inc of the US. Group revenues for the year to Feb 2020 were approximately $61bn, with net income of approx $2bn. Japan accounted for 55% of sales, and North America for almost all of the rest with only a small contribution from other countries. System sales including franchisees were over $110bn. Performance has been slowly declining for several years in Japan, offset by steady growth in North America.

Capsule checked 29th December 2020

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 28th Apr 2021: "Take It To Eleven". Another - but far more satisfying - change of pace for 7-Eleven USA. The convenience store giant has dabbled with a variety of different marketing concepts in recent years, including a largely unsuccessful stab at surreal humour in the Old Spice stylee. However, this new streetwise approach is the chain's most compelling campaign since that Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart tie-up almost 15 years ago. Agency 360i signed up director Harmony Korine - best known outside the ad industry for the movie 'Spring Breakers' - to bring a little of that same vibe to this new collection of four films. The results may not appeal to the whole potential 7-Eleven demographic, but it's safe to say that the chain has the urban hipster audience all sewn up.

Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Aug 2020: In a further expansion of its US footprint, convenience store chain 7-Eleven agreed to purchase an additional 3,900 gas station and convenience outlets in the US from Marathon Petroleum. The sale price is $21bn in cash, making it the biggest ever acquisition by 7-Eleven parent Seven & I Holdings. The stores currently trade as Speedway but will transfer to 7-Eleven following completion, probably early in 2021. Marathon will continue to be the exclusive petroleum supplier for the outlets for at least 15 years. The additional outlets will boost 7-Eleven's US footprint to around 14,000 stores.

Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Apr 2017: Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is to acquire almost 1,100 new gas station outlets in 18 states from Sunoco for around $3.3bn. All existing Sunoco outlets, including its Stripes and Laredo Taco chains, will rebrand as 7-Eleven following completion. That deal will take 7-Eleven's total estate in North America to almost 9,820 outlets.

Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Sept 2015: 7-Eleven, Australia's biggest convenience store chain and petrol retailer came under the media spotlight following a joint investigative report by the current affairs TV show Four Corners and news magazine Business Day. This revealed that as many as two-thirds of 7-Eleven's 620 franchised outlets in Australia have been exploiting their workers, many of whom are foreign students. Staff are routinely paid as little as half the legal minimum rate, and required to work long shifts - sometimes as much as 16 hours straight - in breach of visa conditions. They also face the constant threat of violence from customers - open all night every night, the chain suffers an average of three robberies a week. In some cases, workers' passports are held by store owners to ensure no complaint is made to the authorities. In a panicked response to the intense media coverage, 7-Eleven's head office in Australia expressed its shock at the revelations and promised a full review of working conditions. However several commentators questioned the honesty of that promise, claiming that the company was already fully aware of the situation and that many stores are only financially viable if they pay lower than legal wages.


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