Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Masatoshi Ito, Japanese billionaire behind the rise of 7-Eleven, dies at 98 | CNN Business

Hong Kong/Tokyo

Masatoshi Ito, the Japanese billionaire who turned 7-Eleven comfort shops into a worldwide empire, has died aged 98, closing the chapter on one in all Asia’s most storied retail entrepreneurs.

Seven & I Holdings

(SVNDF), operator of 7-Eleven, confirmed the demise in an announcement on Monday, including that Ito died from previous age on March 10.

“We want to specific our deepest gratitude on your kindness and friendship throughout his life and respectfully inform you of his passing,” the corporate stated.

Ito remodeled on a regular basis retail in Japan, turning a US-born firm into a world model, significantly in Asia the place 7-Eleven outlets are hardly ever quite a lot of minutes’ stroll away in lots of cities.

Seven & I Holdings now operates over 83,000 shops all over the world, together with 7-Eleven outlets in 19 areas and nations in addition to the Speedway comfort retailer chain in america.

A 7-Eleven convenience store in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture, on January 9, 2023.

Chief opponents embrace the Japanese-owned Lawson and Household Mart comfort retailer franchises, however neither has reached the sheer measurement or international attain of the 7-Eleven empire.

Ito’s enterprise acumen was influenced by his friendship with the late administration advisor Peter Drucker, who described Ito as “one of many world’s excellent entrepreneurs and enterprise builders.”

In a 1988 interview with The Journal of Japanese Commerce and Trade, Ito stated he traveled to the US in 1960 and “skilled a sort of cultural shock at how wealthy everyone appeared” at a time when Japan was recovering from the aftermath of World Battle II.

“I turned significantly aware of the sheer measurement of America’s shopper society and the distribution methods that made all of it attainable,” he was quoted as saying.

“It then occurred to me that folks in numerous cultures nonetheless have principally the identical wishes, assuming that they’re on the identical of improvement, and I assumed that Japan’s distribution system would develop into extra like America’s because the Japanese shopper society grew greater.”

The comfort retailer chain traces its origin to 1927, when a number of icehouse firms merged to kind the Southland Ice Firm in Dallas, Texas.

To replicate their prolonged hours of operation, the shops have been renamed in 1946 as 7-Eleven: open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

So, how did 7-Eleven develop into synonymous with the Japanese comfort retailer tradition as we all know it right this moment?

Ito is the post-war entrepreneur credited for making it a worldwide model that sells every part from yoghurt to ready-made meals and drugs, by means of a collection of acquisitions and expansions between the Seventies and Nineteen Nineties.
In response to state broadcaster NHK, Ito obtained his begin in 1958, when he turned the president of a small attire retailer in Tokyo that was run by his household.

He later stared promoting meals and different every day requirements. He renamed the corporate Ito Yokado and began operating the enterprise like a US grocery store.

Ito Yokado later cast a cope with 7-Eleven’s proprietor, the Southland Company, and opened Japan’s first 7-Eleven in Tokyo in 1974.

His agency then acquired a controlling stake in Southland in March 1991. A yr later Ito resigned as president of Ito Yokado “to take duty for alleged payoffs to racketeers by firm officers,” in keeping with NHK.

Ito Yokado was renamed Seven & I Holdings in 2005, and Ito remained its honorary chairman till his demise.

Wanting again at 7-Eleven’s success, Ito was quoted as saying within the 1988 interview: “I’m ceaselessly requested if I succeeded due to onerous work or as a result of I used to be simply fortunate. The reply is a few of each.”

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