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    7-Eleven Restructures Maine Operations

    Five of its 15 convenience stores shuttered.

    AUGUSTA, Maine -- Sixty-five employees lost their jobs Wednesday night when 7-Eleven Inc. closed five of its 15 convenience stores in Maine.

    Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven spokeswoman, said arrangements are being made for two shift managers to transfer to other stores in the state. A severance package will be provided to employees.

    Those who have worked for a year or more will receive a week's pay; those who worked at least nine years will get two weeks' pay. The company also is willing to help employees transfer to 7-Eleven stores in other parts of the country, according to the Central Maine Daily Sentinel.

    Typically, each store has 10 to 13 part- and full-time employees.

    "The stores just weren't generating enough sales and profits," Chabris said Wednesday. "We still have stores in southern Maine that are profitable."

    Eating into profits was logistics, Chabris said. Five stores were too far from the company's distribution center in Franklin, Mass. They were serviced locally, so the company couldn't bring them in line with its fresh food program. She said fresh produce and bakery goods are delivered daily to the other stores from the distribution centers. "We've been launching fresh foods programs all over the country for several years now," she said. "Last year, we launched it in Los Angeles. The thing we're doing is developing stores in a concentrated market, and deliver daily fresh foods and fresh bakery items."

    7-Eleven purchased its Maine stores in 1998 from the Christy's chain, the report said. Most of the stores are leased and 7-Eleven will either sublet the properties or buy out of the leases. The company operates more than 5,800 convenience stores in the United States and Canada.

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