Stocks in leading Japanese convenience store chain 7-Eleven are rapidly losing their appeal with investors abandoning them in droves. Shares in the company have lost over half their value since the beginning of the year, making it the biggest average decliner on the Nikkei 225 stock exchange. Analysts say shareholders are jumping ship as they begin to realise that e-commerce, in which the company has invested heavily, will not provide them with a speedy return on their investments. When land growth became difficult last year, 7-Eleven, which has over 8,000 outlets in Japan, began to pump cash into e-commerce sites such as CarPoint, e-Shopping and Major international corporations including Sony and Microsoft teamed up with the chain to form a series of e-commerce alliances, the ultimate coup being the signing of Masayoshi Son, Japan's biggest internet investor, in a deal to sell books online. 7-Eleven's shares peaked at 18,290 yen in November. They are now trading at just over 7,000 yen. Shares in Japanese retail has slumped in recent weeks following a series of health scares, weak consumer spending and the collapse of department store Sogo Co. The 89-member Topix Retail Index of which 7-Eleven and parent company Ito-Yokado are prominent members, has fallen almost 40% this year. But some analysts remain confident that the company was right to move into cyberspace, and remains "the number one player". "After the collapse of Sogo the market was gearing itself up for another round of high-profile bankruptcies," said one optimistic analyst. "But they haven't materialised." {{NEWS }}