Japan’s 7-Eleven kingpin looks to U.S. to inspire online revolution

Suzuki, chairman and CEO of Seven And I Holdings Co Ltd speaks during an intewview with Reuters at its headquarters in TokyoBy Taiga Uranaka and Ritsuko Shimizu TOKYO (Reuters) – The 81-year-old Japanese executive who built 7-Eleven into the world's biggest convenience store chain has a new mission: turning more than 50,000 bricks and mortar stores in Japan into portals to a new online retail empire. To do it, Toshifumi Suzuki, the chief executive of department store to mail order retailer Seven & I Holdings Co, is once again seeking inspiration in the United States. It's over 40 years since he kickstarted a revolution in Japanese retail by bringing 7-Eleven stores across the Pacific, eventually buying the U.S. owners after they sought bankruptcy protection. In Suzuki's future vision, goods ordered online from Seven & I's department stores and supermarkets, as well as outside partners, will be delivered to and picked up from the thousands of 7-Eleven stores spread across Japan at customers' convenience.

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