7-Eleven Set to Open in India

March 1, 2019, 5:10 PM UTC

The world’s largest convenience store chain is headed to the world’s second most populous country.

7-Eleven plans to open its first stores in India later this year, staking a claim in a country where the retail industry is quickly opening up to international conglomerates.

The convenience store chain has struck a deal with the local retail chain Future Group to open up an undisclosed number of locations. The first one will open later this year.

“This strategic relationship offers an excellent opportunity to bring 7‑Eleven’s brand of convenience and its iconic products to the Indian consumer,” said Ken Wakabayashi, senior vice president and head of international at 7‑Eleven, in a statement.

Groceries are a $380 billion industry in India, according to the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service. Most of that goes to smaller stores, but the market for corporate chains is growing quickly.

India has already seen a number of large U.S. companies invest in the country in recent years. Walmart last year spent $16 billion to buy Flipkart Online Services Pvt. And Amazon has invested in offline retailers, such as Shopper’s Stop.

Online retailers, however, are facing some roadblocks as regulations require online marketplaces to treat all vendors equally, effectively barring foreign companies from featuring exclusive products on their platforms, owning inventory, and thus being able to influence pricing and offer huge discounts.

India is 7-Eleven’s 20th country to locate stores. The Japanese-owned chain, based in Dallas, has more than 67,000 stores worldwide.