7-ELEVEN Downplays Japanese Ownership

7-Eleven is all over the news recently, as the Feds crack down on the labor practices of local stores and 7-Eleven Inc. cracks down on franchisees it claims are cheating the franchisor by underreporting sales and overstating expenses.

Many of the national news stories refer to 7-Eleven, Inc. as Dallas-based, but never mention that the corporation itself is been owned by a large, Japanese conglomerate named Seven & I Holdings.

Commenters on news sites and blogs frequently refer to 7-Eleven as being American-owned, and often mistakenly refer to it being owned by Southland Corporation.

A visit to the 7-Eleven corporate website might lead one to believe the misperception is not entirely accidental.

The History section of the corporate website spins a uniquely American yarn, complete with black and white pictures,  of how “Uncle Jonny” & Southland Ice pioneered convenience retailing in 1910, and introduced the 7-Eleven brand in 1946.

The history lesson concludes with the statement “Still headquartered in its birthplace city, 7-Eleven remains an active member of the Dallas community.”

Somehow, the History section of the 7-Eleven website neglects to mention that 7-Eleven was saved from bankruptcy decades ago by a Japanese company, Ito-Yokado, which gained a controlling share in 1991.

Ito-Yokado formed Tokyo-based  Seven & I Holdings Co. in 2005 and 7-Eleven became its subsidiary.

7-Eleven Owner[The graphic, above, is from the Seven & I Holdings Co. corporate profile brochure]

The Fun Facts section of the 7-Eleven website also fails to disclose the company’s Japanese ownership.

I guess the fact that the CEO and COO are named Toshifumi Suzuki and Noritoshi Murata respectively is not considered factually fun enough for inclusion.

The Accomplishments and Milestones page includes approximately 168 accomplishments & milestones, two of which mention the company’s Japanese owners:

2005 Seven & i Holdings purchases outstanding shares of 7-Eleven, Inc. and takes U.S.-based convenience-store chain private

2006 Seven and i Holdings becomes Japan’s largest retailer with purchase of Sogo Co. and Seibu Department stores Ltd.

7-Eleven corporate press releases do not include mention of its Japanese parent company.  Here’s the current boilerplate “About 7-Eleven” press release text:

About 7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry.

Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,000 7-Eleven® stores in North America.

Globally, 7-Eleven has some 50,000 stores in 16 countries.

During 2011, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $76.6 billion.

7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Forbes magazine’s 2011 list of Top Franchises for the Money; #3 spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2012, #3 in Forbes magazine’s Top 20 Franchises to Start, and #2 in Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies.

7-Eleven was named No. 3 on Fast Company magazine’s 2013 list of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail.”

Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven among its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics.

7-Eleven received the 2010 Retailer of the Year honor from PL Buyer because of the company’s private-label brand initiative.

7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com.

Seven & I Holdings logoDoes it strike anyone else as strange that 7-Eleven press releases mention an accolade from an obscure trade magazine dedicated to private labeling, but fails to mention its company is owned by the fifth largest retailer in the world,with 35,000 stores in approximately 100 countries and sales approaching $85 billion?

7-Eleven franchise owners don’t seem to be the only ones acting as if they have something to hide.

Also read:

7-Eleven Franchise Complaints

7-ELEVEN Franchises Raided by DOJ, Homeland Security

7-ELEVEN Franchise Lawsuit Against Franchisee Pursharth Kapoor

7-ELEVEN Franchise Owners Complain, Allege Churning

7-ELEVEN: Is 7-Eleven a Good Franchise to Own?



Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

Tags: Seven & I Holdings Co, 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven owner, 7-Eleven parent, 7-Eleven franchise, Seven & I Holdings Co., Toshifumi Suzuki, Noritoshi Murata, 7-Eleven ownership, 7-Eleven, SEI, who owns 7-eleven, who owns 7-11, 7-Eleven franchise complaints, 7-11 franchise, 7-11 franchise complaints,

5 thoughts on “7-ELEVEN Downplays Japanese Ownership

  • What difference does this make? What is your motivation: racist or nativist?

  • The subject is their motivation. Why does 7-Eleven go out of their way to emphasize their Dallas, TX office location, but to seemingly hide their Japanese ownership? We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but they obviously must feel differently… right?

  • over and out

    There is a Board of Directors meeting in Hawaii later this month

  • Franchizee

    A lot of Hawaii at one time was owned by the Japanese. They drove the price of real estate sky high in the 1980s.

  • Workinboy48

    Hey kids, the truth is that it doesn’t make any difference who actually owns 7-Eleven from an investment standpoint. If it were German held or Korean held, or any other nationality, if they (the owners) were trying to force their “culture change” down the throats of people who have become accustomed to the “American” way of life, the reaction would be the same. It is in fact, in this case, the Japanese who have decided to cram this new business model down the throats of Franchisees. The new business model absolutely benefits them far more than the Franchisee and they are violating Franchise Agreements, State and Federal restriction of trade laws and more to get it accomplished. The truth also is that unless or until Franchisees reach down and find what they are made of, the abuses will not only continue, but will increase in both frequency and magnitude.
    And if you really believe that your local FOA representatives will stand tall enough to make a difference on your behalf, shame on you for being so naive.
    Until you and the rest of the 7-Eleven Franchisees either hire appropriate and credible representative council, and leaders who are no longer in the system and therefore can’t be intimidated by SEI, these tactics and abused will not stop. If you really want things to get better:
    1) Contact your local FOA leaders and DEMAND that they modify the National Coalition bylaws to allow for a past franchisee to be elected to the Chairman position. If you are going to pay someone to represent your interests, make sure it is not someone with a conflict of interest, as the current chairman has, and someone who will deal with SEI on equal footing without fear of losing their hard fought for lively-hood.
    2) Engage the services of counsel like Jerry Marks or Craig Kennedy to advise and represent, again without fear from reprisal or threat.

    Change will not come easy or cheaply. But the result of your continued inaction and lack of solidarity will be far more costly. You are now at the greatest risk franchisees have faced since 1999.
    Please, tell everyone you know about this site and any other site which allows you to share and build unity. Have them demand the same from their local FOA representatives and start help those who would help you.
    You do not have to risk having your name known to SEI or anyone else. But if that did happen, all you would need to do is tell them to “get the hell out of my store and contact our attorney”, and let them help you stop the abuses.
    There are those who will willingly come to your aid, but you must first take the steps to engage and empower them to do so. Get the word out. Share your experiences and thoughts here, and ask everyone else to join in the fight to protect your stores and your rights.

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