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The Japanese owner of convenience store giant 7-Eleven believes it can expand the brand to 20,000 stores in the U.S.

As first reported by The Japan Times, Kazuki Furuya, president of Seven-Eleven Japan Co., said Wednesday that after introducing Japanese-style product development and services to 7-Eleven’s 8,500 U.S. stores, he believes the company can accelerate its growth and appeal to new demographics. He did not give a timeline on when he expects the company to reach 20,000 American locations.

Furuya said that while 7-Eleven’s U.S. customer base has traditionally been lower-income individuals, improving the quality of goods sold at stores has increased the number of middle-class consumers.

And appealing to a larger customer base will not only fuel unit growth, but sales as well. Seven-Eleven Japan believes it can improve average daily sales at its U.S. stores from nearly $5,000 to roughly $7,800 to $8,800.

7-Eleven’s Irving-based U.S. headquarters declined to give further comment on the growth plans.

According to George Young, CEO of consulting firm Kalypso, 7-Eleven’s footprint and sales are expanding as more consumers are relying on convenience stores for daily needs.

“The things people buy not online or at a grocery store as part a big visit, they’re buying at convenience stores,” Young said. “The C-stores are filling more important needs.”

“The days of the gnarly-looking hot dogs that look like they’ve been rotating for months are gone,” he added. “You have freshly-prepared salads and foods. People stop for gas (and pick up) food and wellness offerings.”

7-Eleven has already been expanding its U.S. presence. In May, it announced the purchase of 79 convenience stores from CST Brands Inc. (NYSE: CST) for $408 million.

And according to Dallas Business Journal research, it is North Texas’ 15th-fastest growing franchise company, posting 18 percent unit growth between 2012 and 2015.

Presented By Dallas Business Journal

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