Famima!! Opens Second U.S. C-Store

Japanese company plans to rapidly expand upscale concept in 2006

TORRANCE, Calif. Famima!! opened its second convenience store today, in Westwood, Calif. The store is Famima's second store in Los Angeles, following the July opening of its flagship store in West Hollywood.

Catering to an affluent demographic, Famima!! features lattes, panini and sushi, among other offerings. It is a fusion of premium groceries, fresh and healthy gourmet foods, snacks and beverages and a deli cafe. The store carries specialty and trendy and lifestyle merchandise, pharmaceuticals and DVDs, [image-nocss] and each store offers digital printing and ATM services.

Today's consumer on the go is seeking better-quality foods and fast, friendly customer serviceclose to home or en route to their next destination, said Shiro Inoue, president and CEO of Famima Corp., Torrance, Calif. What Famima!! offers is a premium grocer and community store that has class, variety and taste. We think that once consumers get a taste of Famima!!, they'll see the difference and return again and again for the Famima!! premium experience."

The company plans a strategic rollout of hundreds of specialty stores using the Famima!! and franchise systems over the next three years, it said. In 2005, two new stores opened; in 2006, 30 more stores are planned, including the company's third store, opening in January in Santa Monica, Calif.; and the company anticipates having 250 stores by 2009.

"We are continuously studying how to improve our business," said Inoue. "For example, sushi, panini, sandwiches, Chinese buns and Japanese snacks and drinks have been very popular-selling food items. Our cool stationery products and anime comic books are also popular. So, we have to renew stock at all times and come up with compelling seasonal products that consumers will buy. We also plan to expand the awareness of Famima!! by becoming a community partner in local events."

Famima, which the company said was founded in 2004 to bring the high-quality, generation- and neighborhood-focused convenience store concept to the U.S. market, is backed by the ITOCHU Group, which operates the FamilyMart chain of about 6,000 c-stores in Japan.