Thailand's largest convenience store company, CP Seven Eleven, has said it may open more stores this year than originally planned.

"Our original projection of 320 new stores this year shouldn't be too difficult to reach as we have set up as many as 229 branches in the first six months of this year. Actually, we may be able to expand around 450 new stores or more this year," the company's president, Piyawat Titasattavorakul, was quoted by Dow Jones International News as saying.

At the end of 2003, the company had a total of 2,397 stores in operation, 35% of which were run as franchises.

Piyawat said there is still room for the growth in Thailand, with just one convenience store per 10,000 people there compared to one store per 3,000 people in Japan.