Japan's Seven & i to close Ito-Yokado stores, exit apparel business

Seven & i Holdings Co., the operator of the Seven-Eleven convenience store chain, said Thursday it will cut the number of its Ito-Yokado supermarket stores by more than 20 percent and pull out of the apparel business, as it presses ahead with restructuring to focus more on its convenience store operations.

The Japanese retail giant said it will close 33 Ito-Yokado outlets in Japan by the end of February 2026. There were a total of 126 as of the end of February.

The decision comes as Seven & i is under increasing pressure from ValueAct Capital, a U.S. investment company and a shareholder of the Japanese retailer, to focus on the mainstay convenience stores business.

The retailer said in November it will sell its struggling department store unit Sogo & Seibu Co. to U.S.-based investment fund Fortress Investment Group LLC for around 250 billion yen ($1.8 billion).

© Kyodo News