7-Eleven moving fast to usurp GS 25

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7-Eleven moving fast to usurp GS 25

GS 25 and 7-Eleven are battling for the No. 2 spot in the convenience store market, with the latter?chasing down GS 25, which trails only CU.

GS 25 opened 500 new stores last year, compared to 720 by 7-Eleven.

Based on figures from the end of last month, GS 25 now operates 6,880 stores nationwide, 47 more than 7-Eleven.

BGF Retail, a joint venture between Japan’s Family Mart and Korea’s Bo Gwang Group, recently rebranded Family Mart as CU to expand the franchise’s business globally under an independent brand.

According to the industry yesterday, 7-Eleven has narrowed the difference with GS 25 in terms of store numbers from January 2011, when the difference stood at 200.

Market observers predict 7-Eleven will usurp GS 25 if it continues at its current rate.

Meanwhile, CU widened the gap with GS 25 in terms of its presence in Korea. It had 400 more stores than its rival in January 2011, but 852 more by the end of last month.

“7-Eleven has been continuing this aggressive management since it merged with Buy The Way in 2010, while GS 25 has begun to level off this year after increasing the number of its stores last year,” said Cho Yoon-jung, who deals with publicity for 7-Eleven.

“We are investing a lot in manpower and this is also driving our sales.”

Some industry insiders point out that, when calculated another way, 7-Eleven has already leapfrogged GS 25.

This is because scores of the latter’s stores are located in military bases and only open for a few hours a day, making their inclusion on the list questionable.

The convenience store market this year is estimated to grow 16 percent to 11.8 trillion won ($10.6 billion).

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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