Founded in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, under the name of Tote'm, 7-Eleven got his present name in 1946. It opened its first branch in Japan in 1973.
7-Eleven is now the undisputed leader in convenience retailing with more than 24,000 stores operating in 18 countries, among which more than 10,000 are in Japan.
Planned for merger on 1 September 2004 under the name Circle K Sunkus, both companies were founded in Nagoya in 1980.
As of February 2004, Sunkus had 3,271 stores in 31 prefectures, while Circle K had 2,941 stores in 25 prefectures.
Sunkus is particularily strong in Kanto with 1,265 stores, while Circle only has 191. The situation is reversed in the Tokai-Chūbu region, where Circle K has 2,083 (847 in Aichi only) branches against 282 for Sunkus. Also note the absence of Circle K in Kyushu and Hokkaido.
A fairly newcomer, AM PM came into existence in 1990. It developped quickly and reached 1,365 branches by March 2003.
AM PM dominates the business area around Nihombashi in Tokyo, where virtually no other "combini" can be found. AM-PM distiguish itslef with its selection of ready-made warm dishes.