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According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, 2011 was a good year for the industry. Sales exceeded $680 billion, prompting NACS Chairman Tom Robinson to conclude that “one-stop shopping and speed of service for refreshments, food and fuel … continues to resonate with our customers.”

Perhaps no convenience store chain in the U.S. is as well-known as 7-Eleven, originator of the Slurpee and the Big Gulp. It operates over 7,000 stores throughout the country, but nearly twice that amount is found in Japan, home of Seven & I Holdings Co., owner of the entire chain.

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