While many retailers are contracting or limiting expansion, 7-Eleven is aggressively growing and expects to add more than 200 new stores this year. Plans call for the company to accelerate store development over the next several years through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program.
7-Eleven has a multi-pronged approach to growth that includes in-line, end-cap space in shopping centers, freestanding stores, urban locations in light industrial sites, city residential areas and suburbia.
The company, which operates and franchises more than 6,200 stores in the U.S. and Canada, opened 170 stores in 2008.
7-Eleven’s latest growth vehicle is its Business Conversion Program, where the company looks for existing independent retail store operators who want to convert to the national chain and become a part of 7-Eleven’s franchise system.
The convenience chain leader invests an average of $280,000 into these conversions. If the existing owner holds the lease or owns the building, they retain the responsibility for the real estate. There are now 110 outlets that have been converted to 7-Eleven stores since the program started in 2006.
Typical 7-Eleven stores have 1,800 to 2,200 square feet of selling space within densely inhabited areas that have strong daytime traffic. The company also wants to be part of re-gentrification in its growth markets.
Among 7-Eleven’s growth markets are: New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Tidewater, Va., Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
To support its growth plans, 7-Eleven is reviewing its portfolio of leased stores and their rental rates. 7-Eleven’s real estate development team is evaluating individual sites to ensure rates are in line with current market values and identifying opportunities to work with landlords who may be experiencing lease defaults or retail flight by their current tenants.
7-Eleven and its real estate team will participate in the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) Global Retail Real Estate Convention May 17-20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Fabricated to appear like a 7-Eleven store, the 7-Eleven booth is located at S383 Q Street in the convention center.