Seven & I Holdings said it will be relocating a record number of stores this fiscal year amid Japan’s economic downturn.

Seven-Eleven Japan Co. plans to open a record 1,000 stores in fiscal 2009 while shuttering a total of 720 stores it considers are not in competitive positions. Overall, this will make for an increase of 18% in its total number of outlets throughout Japan.

The relocation figures show a major shift to the country’s main conurbations and will make for increased competition between convenience stores in an already crowded market.

Japan’s second-ranked Lawson Inc, meanwhile, said it will close 460 sites this year.