7-Eleven Plans To Break Store-Growth Records This Year
After shattering both its international and domestic store growth records last year, 7-Eleven Inc. is in line to have an even bigger year in 2012. The world’s largest retailer by units added more than 4,600 stores worldwide in 2011 and plans to continue the company’s accelerated growth.
Some 600 additional stores were built, acquired or transitioned from another business to the 7-Eleven® brand in the United States and Canada alone during 2011. This year, 7-Eleven’s goal is to exceed that number by adding at least 630 new stores to its U.S. and Canada roster by year’s end.
Since 2003, 7-Eleven has nearly doubled its global store count, from 25,000 to more than 46,000. Today, a new 7-Eleven store opens somewhere in the world approximately every two hours.
7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto said, “7-Eleven’s U.S. growth strategy includes building greater market presence and adding quality locations in metropolitan areas where the company already has stores as a means to increase efficiencies and leverage the company’s scale and daily-delivery infrastructure.
“The financial strength of 7-Eleven has enabled us to grow aggressively, even in what has been a challenging economic environment for many companies in the past four years,” he added.
“In the world of real estate and development, it has been a buyer’s market, and we have been in the enviable position to capitalize on property and space availability plus 7-Eleven’s strong credit rating,” said 7-Eleven Real Estate VP Dan Porter.
Approximately 56 percent of 7-Eleven’s growth in the U.S. last year was the result of several acquisitions that increased store density in New York, Florida, Illinois, Colorado and the Northwest. The most significant 2011 purchase was Wilson Farms Inc., a Buffalo-based convenience store chain with 188 outlets in New York State. The strategic move reinvigorates the company’s presence in Western New York. 7-Eleven is re-entering two markets—Jacksonville, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C.—where it previously had operated stores until the 1980s. The company also has announced plans to double its 20-store presence in Manhattan in the next year and grow to about 135 units by 2017.
The purchasing pace shows no signs of slowing in 2012. Already this year, 7-Eleven has acquired 55 locations from Sam’s Mart in the Carolinas and 51 from ExxonMobil in North Texas. More acquisitions are expected to be announced in the coming months.
“We have successfully increased 7-Eleven’s store footprint in several of our most dynamic markets,” Porter said. “Year to date, 7-Eleven already has added more than 200 new locations, in North America. We believe we are adding more new locations this year around the world than any other company and are the second fastest growing food retailer in the U.S., based on new store openings.”
As its store count rises so too does its franchising opportunities for qualified businessmen and women to be their own boss. In the U.S., 80 percent of 7-Eleven’s stores are franchised. More than 300 are franchised through the company’s business conversion program whereby independent operators convert their stores to the 7-Eleven brand with the store owner becoming a 7-Eleven franchisee. And, 25 stores have been franchised through the company’s reduced franchise-fee offering for qualified military veterans, which began in 2009.
Approximately 10 to 12 full- and part-time store associates are employed by each store in the U.S., infusing dollars into the local economy. In total, some 2,000 new jobs and business opportunities are created each year in the U.S. as a result. When 7-Eleven adds new stores or remodels existing or newly acquired outlets, communities benefit because 7-Eleven will add to tax revenues and create more opportunities for the construction industry and suppliers, according to a company news release.