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    7-Eleven Has Big Plans for the Big City

    Company plans to open 15-20 stores in Manhattan by 2012, 100 stores in the next five years.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. has its eyes set on New York City, as real estate sources revealed that the c-store giant plans to have between 15 and 20 Manhattan locations open by the end of 2012, and 100 stores operating within the city in the next five years, CrainsNewYork.com reported. The Web site added that 7-Eleven has recently opened two stores in Murray Hill and has signed another two leases for locations within the borough.

    "There are more attractive locations available now than there were in the past, and this is due to the recession," Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven public relations director told CrainesNewYork.com. "A lot of small businesses are having a tough time growing, or some of them aren't able to renew leases." According to the Web site 7-Eleven's strategy involves a small-business conversion program where existing c-stores transition their businesses into 7-Eleven franchise locations, with approximate remodeling costs at $250,000 per outpost.

    "The key to their expansion is they're building their brand," Ariel Schuster, a Robert K. Futterman & Associates broker who represented 7-Eleven in two Manhattan store deals in December, told the Web site. "Manhattanites didn't really know about them yet, but around the country, like on Long Island, 7-Eleven is known" he said, adding that the brand has a strong balance sheet and good credit, so landlords are more willing to take 7-Eleven on as a tenant.

    According to the Web site, 7-Eleven currently has several leases out for negotiation in Manhattan with plans to move onto college campuses and airports, with its first airport location opening at Newark Liberty International airport last year. "We are actively looking," Ms. Chabris added.

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