Masatoshi Ito, who brought 7-Eleven convenience stores to Japan, has died : NPR
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Masatoshi Ito, the billionaire Japanese businessman who made 7-Eleven convenience stores the island nation’s cultural and consumer staple, died last week. He was 98 years old.
According to announcement from Ito’s companySeven & i Holdings, the honorary chairman died of old age.
“We would like to express our deepest gratitude for your kindness during his life,” the firm’s statement read.
Formerly called Ito-Yokado, the company opened the first post of the American retail chain in Japan in 1974. During the following decades, the popularity of 7-Eleven exploded in the country.
In 1991, Ito-Yokado acquired a majority stake in Southland Corporation, the Dallas-based company that owned 7-Eleven, effectively taking control of the chain.
Ito resigned a year later over alleged payments by company officials to “yakuza” members, the BBC reported. However, he remained connected to the company he founded as its growth of the 7-Eleven business saw great success.
By 2003, there were over 10,000 7-Eleven stores across Japan. That number doubled by 2018.
Japanese convenience stores known as konbini they are anywhere across the countrybut 7-Elevens there may look different from what American consumers are used to.
the glistening shops offeramong other things, ready-to-eat sushi, called rice balls onigiri and a wide range of sweets and baked goods. Popular TikTok videos show users shopping at 7-Elevens in Japan — and often prompt comments from envious customers elsewhere in the world.
At the time of his death, Ito had a net worth of $4.35 billion, according to Forbeswhich made him the eighth richest person in Japan.