Masatoshi Ito, billionaire who made 7-Eleven a global giant, dies at 98

7 11 store

Japanese billionaire Masatoshi Ito, who helped turn 7-Eleven convenience stores into a global business empire, has died aged 98. He died last Friday from old age, operator Seven & i Holdings said in a statement. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to him for his kindness during his lifetime,” the firm said. There are more than 83,000 7-Eleven stores around the world, with a quarter of them located in Japan.  In 1956, Mr Ito took over a small Tokyo apparel store business that had been run by his uncle then half-brother. Mr Ito later renamed it Ito-Yokado and turned the business into a chain of one-stop stores that sold everything from groceries to clothes. It went public in 1972. Around the same time, an executive at Ito-Yokado, Toshifumi Suzuki, spotted a 7-Eleven store during a visit to the US. Ito-Yokado later forged a deal with 7-Eleven’s owner – the US-based Southland Corporation – and opened Japan’s first 7-Eleven in 1974. Mr Ito’s firm moved to acquire a controlling stake in Southland Corporation in March 1990.(BBC)…[+]