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    7-Eleven to Acquire McKee Stores

    As reported first by CSNews Online yesterday, Salt Lake City area stores fit company's three-pronged growth strategy.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven signed an agreement to purchase 10 McKee Oil Co. convenience stores in greater Salt Lake City, Utah, which will bring the number of convenience stores that the company operates in northern Utah to 112.

    If 7-Eleven completes the acquisition, it would integrate the stores into their existing system, said spokeswoman Margaret Chabris. "It takes quite some time. We have a very different system for how we go to market," she told CSNews Online. "We take it in baby steps."

    Integrating the stores will be fairly quick, as they are all company operated, she noted. Stores will require the installation of 7-Eleven's proprietary point-of-sale system, and teaching the stores how ordering is done through the customer's choices, rather than suppliers or guesswork, Chabris said.

    Currently the McKee stores sell Phillips 66 gas, which will continue after 7-Eleven purchases them.

    7-Eleven, operator of 7,100 stores in North America, will acquire 10 of the chain's 17 locations, according to Chabris. The remaining seven stores were too small, almost kiosk sized, she explained.

    7-Eleven's stores in the state are mostly franchised, and because of this, the McKee stores will eventually be franchised out, Chabris said.

    Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, and 7-Eleven expects to close the deal before the end of 2006.

    The purchase is part of 7-Eleven's strategic growth plan to expand in areas where the company currently operates, according to Chabris. "We're in a growth mode and are always looking for opportunity. These stores are a good fit to our strategy, which is to grow in the areas we have a concentration of stores."

    7-Eleven is growing in three different ways -- organically through new builds; leasing and then remodeling or making acquisitions such as this one and the previous White Hen; and a business conversion, where the company approaches an existing store -- like a mom and pop, deli, or existing c- store -- and asks if it is interested in branding itself as a 7-Eleven, Chabris said.

    White Hen Update
    Chabris also gave CSNews Online an update on its White Hen acquisition. "It's going well, we are still doing the integration, again making determinations on what is popular of White Hen customers and what they like of 7-Eleven.

    "We're taking a look, doing more research and talking to customers to find out what they like about each store, then blend the best of both," which has always been the company's strategy, she noted. Consumers will begin seeing changes or additions due to the acquisition of White Hen in 7-Eleven's second quarter.

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