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    7-Eleven Franchisees Sign Accord

    Coalition disputing some terms of contract.

    DALLAS -- Owners of approximately 1,000 7-Eleven franchise stores met Saturday's deadline to sign an agreement with 7-Eleven Inc., even as a coalition representing the franchisees proceeded with a lawsuit against the chain, the company said Monday.

    The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees sued the Dallas-based convenience store chain in California on March 15, contending that franchisees shouldn't be required to sign the new agreement and disputing some terms of the contract. A judge last week denied the coalition's motion for a preliminary injunction, reported the Dallas Morning News.

    The agreement, negotiated by 7-Eleven and a committee of franchisees over the last two years, calls for the retailer and its franchisees to equally share in profits and requires stores to order 85 percent of the goods that 7-Eleven recommends. 7-Eleven vice president of franchisees,Jack Wilkie said he didn't expect the lawsuit to keep other store owners from entering into the new contract. A spokesman for the franchisees' coalition couldn't be reached for comment.

    7-Eleven is seeking to make its stores more uniform so that it can market new products, fresh foods and beverages on a national basis. Franchisees own about 3,000 of the chain's 5,700 U.S. stores.

    Wilkie said the company is hoping to have another large group of stores sign on in September. "This allows us to fully implement our business strategy," he said.

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