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    7-Eleven, Chevron Launch Co-Branding Test

    Eleven 7-Eleven stores to offer Chevron gas and nine Chevron sites will convert c-stores to 7-Eleven.

    DALLAS -- In a move that appears to be part of a growing trend for Big Oil companies in the United States, 7-Eleven Inc. and ChevronTexaco Corp. will test a co-branding effort this summer at 20 7-Eleven and Chevron locations in Florida, Texas and California. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    Late last year, Shell Oil Products U.S. revamped its retail operations by spinning off management of convenience stores to new multi-site operators. Other oil companies are said to be exploring similar programs.

    Under the Chevron-7-Eleven trial, 11 7-Eleven stores will offer Chevron-branded gasoline and nine Chevron sites will convert their convenience-store format to 7-Eleven, the companies said in a statement yesterday. Currently, 30 out of 7-Eleven's 5,800 stores in the United States and Canada sell Chevron-branded gasoline under different arrangements.

    "This summer's test is a more integrated effort to better assess consumer acceptance of the combined offerings," Dallas-based 7-Eleven said.

    San Ramon, Calif.-based ChevronTexaco markets gasoline in 28 states through more than 8,000 service stations.

    Separately, 7-Eleven said total sales for May rose 8.3 percent to $951.7 million from $878.9 million a year ago. Total merchandise sales for rose 6.6 percent to $670.3 million from $628.6 million last year, with U.S. same-store sales for May up 4.9 percent. Gasoline sales climbed 12.4 percent to $281.4 million from $250.3 million in May last year. Average gallons sold per store increased 6.1 percent, with the average retail price of gasoline at $1.53, up from $1.45 in May 2002.

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