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    7-Eleven Holds Private Label Summit

    Company also provides update on private label growth plans.

    DALLAS -- Convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc. held its first Private Label Summit here Oct. 28-29, which was designed to provide the company's private label suppliers with the opportunity to meet with the retailer's category managers and product directors, as well as attend a formal private label forum.

    Kicking off the event was 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto, who demonstrated the company's commitment to growing its private-label and proprietary brands.

    The purpose of the program was to educate 7-Eleven supply partners about the company's business strategy and private-label growth plans, according to the company. Attending the conference was 60 people representing 35 suppliers, including the first 7-Eleven private label food supplier, Barrel of Fun, which provides bagged chips for 7-Eleven's 7-Select brand, the company stated.

    "We had 100 percent participation from every supplier we invited," Tom Gerrity, 7-Eleven senior product director, said in a statement, Gerrity was recently promoted to oversee the company's private label program.

    Following the summit, vendors told the retailer they were most impressed with 7-Eleven's openness as a partner to share information and the business strategy, the company stated.

    "Our suppliers told us they've never had this kind of business relationship and really believe 7-Eleven wants a true partnership with them," Gerrity added. "They are committed to grow with us, assist in bringing more new and innovative products to the market and help us find ways to raise consumer awareness about the 7-Select brand. Suppliers and 7-Eleven are focused on driving out costs to help franchisees maximize their gross profits."

    In addition, there are plans to meet more frequently with suppliers as a group, according to Gerrity. And 7-Eleven will develop opportunities for f franchisee engagement, including product sampling and providing feedback.

    Meanwhile, the convenience store chain also hinted at the future of its private label lines, with plans to roll out 265 SKUs in U.S. stores by year-end, along with 2010 plans to build a selection of 300 SKUs, with some national products becoming regional items, the company stated.
    And next month, the retailer anticipates making private label frozen foods available in all its U.S. 7-Eleven stores, including 7-Select frozen items such as whole pizzas and mozzarella cheese stick appetizers. In Canada, a private label program will start with non-foods in January, with items including 7-Select paper goods, office supplies, automotive and personal care items.

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