Japanese convenience store operator FamilyMart Co. has opened its first store in the US and plans to have 250 stores there by 2009.

The first US store will open on 20 July in West Hollywood, California, the company said. It will be a "new lifestyle specialty all-in-one community store (Premium Grocer + Quick Service Restaurant + Convenience Store) concept that is thoughtful in its modern design and sophisticated in its product offerings," trading under the name 'Famima!!'

"I am very happy to announce that we are opening our first Famima!! store in the United States," said Junji Ueda, president of FamilyMart Co., Ltd. "This initiative is expected to add crucial momentum to the implementation of our Pan-Pacific Plan, which aims to create a global network of 20,000 stores. We are working to create Famima!! stores that offer ready-to-eat food products with a high level of freshness and quality along with an atmosphere of warm hospitality that gives American consumers a cheerful feeling of abundance."

"We have been waiting for this day with eager anticipation," said Shiro Inoue President and CEO of Famima Corporation. "Our strong track record in overseas markets shows that we have a successful formula to make Famima a household name in the US. In our quest for excellence, we are confident that distinguishing U.S. consumers will be quick to appreciate and enjoy the Famima experience. Our community and service oriented lifestyle stores have everything they need."

With the West Hollywood store as its pilot project, a strategic rollout of hundreds of specialty stores using the Famima!! and franchise systems is planned over the next 3 years. In 2005, 3 new stores will be added; in 2006, 30 more stores, and the company anticipates having 250 stores by 2009.