Company News

The ‘King of Convenience Stores’ Dies

Honorary chairman Ito grew Seven & i Holdings to about 80,000 stores
Seven & i Holdings
Photograph: Shutterstock

The honorary chairman of Seven & i Holdings Co., the parent company of 7-Eleven Inc., died March 10. Masatoshi Ito died of old age at the age of 98, according to the company.

Ito took over his family’s Yokado clothing shop in 1956 following the death of his brother, and renamed the company Ito-Yokado. Ito-Yokado would eventually become the second-largest retail company in the world, according to Wikipedia.

In 1991, Ito-Yokado acquired majority control of 7-Eleven Inc. and in 2005 changed the parent-company name to Seven & i Holdings. With more than $30 billion in sales, Seven & i operates about 80,000 stores worldwide, according to Reuters, including 7-Eleven shops and the Speedway convenience-store chain in the United States.

A supporter of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California, management expert Peter Drucker once called Ito "one of the world's outstanding entrepreneurs and business builders," Reuters said.

In its coverage of Ito’s death, the New York Times called Ito “the king of convenience stores.”

Seven & i, Tokyo, said a private wake and funeral were held for close family members and that a larger farewell gathering would be planned for a later date.

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