Sales of convenience stores were 8,500 billion yen in 2010, achieving a 10% growth in the past five years. The number of domestic stores reached 46,000 stores. Still, the convenience stores seem to have a bright future. Currently, 70% of shoppers are males, while 30% of them are females. That is, new markets can be created as the number of women workers increases. Working women try to buy all the necessities in one store convenient to them instead of shopping around for cheaper goods to save time. The combined market of retailing and restaurant is estimated at about 160,000 billion yen. Convenience stores have merely a 5% share because they currently have sales of 8,000 billion yen. It is possible to increase the ratio to 10%, the president of a nationwide convenience store chain said.
A convenience store offers lots of opportunities of innovation because there is no clear definition on how a convenience store should be. In fact, his chain successfully increased the sales of vegetables, though vegetables were supposed to be unsalable in convenience stores. In addition, it is possible to increase the number of stores by 1.5 times to 15,000 stores in 10 years inside Japan only. The original concept of a convenience store was invented in the U.S., but the current concept of a convenience store developed in Japan can be exportable. Actually, Japanese convenience store chains are growing business and spreading store chains in Asian countries including China.