7-Eleven Inc. is expanding its presence in Puget Sound, Wash., and in northern California by 65 stores in the next two years.
By the end of 2011, the chain will have added about 15 new stores in the Puget Sound, Wash. area; and more than 50 new stores in northern California, starting with 20 in 2010 and then 30 in 2011. Already the chain opened two stores in Puget Sound in the last two years and seven in northern California in 2009.
The convenience retailer has selected St. Louis-based Colliers Corporate Solutions as its exclusive broker.
In addition to the $10 million expansion in Washington and $50 million new store growth in northern California, 7-Eleven has other expansion plans in mind.
Nationally, 7-Eleven is projecting an additional 200 stores in its top growth markets across the U.S. by the end of this year, 250 more in 2010 and more than 300 in 2011. The growth will come from acquisitions and business conversions as well as developing new locations.
In Washington alone, it will upgrade and remodel five stores, and has already doubled the size of its regional real estate team in the past two years to prepare for the expansion. The chain also plans to upgrade and remodel more than 100 stores in the North Pacific region as a whole and has tripled the size of its northern California real estate team in the past two years in preparation.
The chain is committed to adding at least 60 stores to the 625 it already has in the North Pacific area that includes Washington, Oregon and northern California, said Dan Porter, 7-Eleven vice president of real estate and new store development. “Our development plan will bring more commerce and tax revenue to the area through the construction of new sites, remodeling existing stores and providing more franchise and employment opportunities.”
“Colliers’ local market intelligence and experience in high-volume development will be vital to our success as 7-Eleven enters a period of rapid, new-store growth in its top markets,” Porter added. “We want to quickly identify new locations and take advantage of opportunities throughout the region.”
At a time when most retailers have halted expansion or are contracting, 7-Eleven continues to grow. The current initiative builds upon the company’s opening of 170 new stores in 2008. As it expands, the company will pursue numerous types of real estate development in both urban and suburban locations, including end-cap space in shopping centers and free-standing stores. The company also wants to be a part of urban renewal in its growth markets.
“The conditions of the retail real estate market are creating great opportunities for retail users who are currently growing their portfolios,” said Greg Schuster, senior vice president of Colliers Corporate Solutions. “The success of the 7-Eleven brand and operating model are very attractive to property owners.”
A new facet of 7-Eleven’s growth strategy is the Business Conversion Program (BCP), an opportunity for existing independent retail stores to convert to the national chain and become a part of 7-Eleven’s franchise system. Since the program’s inception in 2006, close to 150 stores have been converted. There are a number of businesses in Washington that are becoming 7-Eleven stores through the conversion program. The first BCP for this area is expected to open by spring of 2010.
Typical 7-Eleven stores range from 2,400-3,000 square feet in size, are located in densely populated areas with strong daytime traffic and multiple business and/or residential properties nearby. “Flexibility” is a significant component of 7-Eleven’s growth strategy. The company looks for anchor space in shopping centers (with or without gasoline service capabilities), free-standing, downtown, walk-up and urban locations 7-Eleven also wants to be a part of re-gentrification/urban development in neighborhoods where it plans to add stores.
7-Eleven, Inc. operates, franchises and licenses more than 6,300 stores in the U.S. under the 7-Eleven brand.