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TAIWAN -- The Cabinet-level Fair Trade Commission (FTC) approved a merger between Family Mart and Niko Mart, two Taiwan convenience store chains, The China Post reported.

The merged company will have a combined market share of 21.48 percent, after Family Mart, which currently has 2,035 stores, takes over the 300-plus stores under Niko Mart, and the Niko Mart brand will disappear completely by the end of the year, the report stated.

"The merger will not create monopolistic concerns, and therefore we do not take an opposing stance on the merger," FTC said in The China Post report.

7-Eleven will continue to be the largest convenience store chain on the island after the merger, with 4,617 retail locations islandwide. The new Family Mart will be the second largest, followed by Hi-Life and OK.

In other 7-Eleven news, the company is set to enter Indian foray, CNBC-TV18 reported on

For 50 years, it's defined America and South East Asia's shopping habits through its chain of 32,700 convenience stores and now 7-Eleven may storm the Indian market. That's if its Hong Kong based franchisee Dairy Farm has its way.

Dairy Farm, which already has 101 stores in India through its 2 JV partnerships with the Rajan Raheja Group, one for its supermarket format called Food World and the other for its health and beauty format called Health and Glow, is believed to be in talks with its Indian JV partner to launch 7 Eleven, the report stated.

"We don't comment on market speculation," said the Rajan Raheja Group spokesman in the report.

Dairy Farm entered India by signing on RPG as its partner in 1999. But in 2001, it switched partners to Raja Raheja Group, the report stated, explaining if the 7-Eleven deal does happen, it will be India's first 24 hour convenience retail chain. Currently, only Delhi-based KK Modi group's 24x7 offers this with its 4 to 5 stores.

Sources say the deal is likely to be struck over the next few weeks, according to the CNBC-TV18 report.

In other international news, a Labour Department report recommends two people work overnight shifts at gas stations and convenience stores, but leaves it up to employers to decide, the CBC News in Nova Scotia, Canada reported.

Labour Minister Mark Parent said Thursday his department is fast-tracking a discussion on workplace safety after the brutal attack on a clerk in Dartmouth last week.

"It's unfortunate that the terrible tragedy happened in the midst of that rollout of the regulations, but ultimately when the regulations are in full force, we expect protection," he told CBC News.

The province announced proposed changes to workplace safety rules earlier this year. A discussion paper was ready on July 24, and the plan was to release it for public input this fall.

Now, Parent said, the department is looking at starting that discussion in a couple of weeks and has come up with three templates for businesses to minimize the risk to employees: one each for protecting taxi drivers, convenience store clerks and retail gas clerks.

Parent said the templates require businesses to have buzzers, implement periodic phone-ins for late-shift workers, and recommends graveyard shifts be staffed with two employees.

But the key is flexibility, the minister said, adding it remains unclear whether having two people on a shift prevents attacks.

Parent said remote gas stations may need two people on a late shift, but other businesses with neighbours and residences nearby may not.
By October, owners of gas stations, convenience stores and taxi companies have to finish a risk assessment. They must have a plan in place to minimize the danger to their workers by next April, or violate the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Parent said businesses can come up with their own plan if they don't want to choose one of the templates.