Japan’s second-biggest convenience store franchise Lawson (2651.TYO) said it is increasing capital spending in China by as much as fivefold to US$50 million to open 130 outlets next year, Bloomberg reported. The chain plans to boost the number of its Shanghai stores from 330 to 360, and increase the number of its outlets in Chongqing from three now to 100 by the end of 2011. It is also looking to expand into Beijing, Dalian, Chengdu and Shenyang. Lawson is cutting its capital spending in Japan by 10% a year as it shifts its focus to China. Japanese convenience store chains are investing overseas because declining birth rates and sluggish economic growth have hurt earnings growth at home. President and CEO Takeshi Niinami said that Lawson may spend as much as US$200 million annually on its China expansion in the next four years and will have as many as 10,000 stores in the country by 2020.
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