Seven & i Holdings honorary chairman and Ito Yokado founder Ito Masatoshi dies

Ito Masatoshi, the honorary chairman of Japanese retail giant Seven & i Holdings and the founder of major supermarket chain Ito Yokado, died on Friday at 98. The cause was old age.

Ito founded the clothing store Yokado in Tokyo's Adachi Ward in 1958, and became its president. It was an offshoot of his family's business.

He later expanded the product lineup to include food and other daily necessities. Following the US model, he went into the supermarket business in Japan, and changed the store's name to Ito Yokado.

He also set up family restaurant chain Denny's Japan as well as convenience store chain Seven-Eleven Japan, and laid the foundation for Ito Yokado to develop into a major retail group, Seven & i Holdings.

Ito resigned as Ito Yokado's president in 1992 to take responsibility for alleged payoffs to racketeers by company officials.

He became honorary chairman of Seven & i Holdings in 2005.