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    Business Conversions Helping to Drive 7-Eleven Growth

    C-store giant expects to have about 40 converted stores operating by year's end.

    DALLAS -- While acquisitions -- like its purchase of Chicago-based White Hen in 2006 -- tend to grab the big headlines, 7-Eleven is quietly adding to its store count through a Business Conversion Program (BCP) that appears to be gaining momentum.

    The 7-Eleven Business Conversion Program was created to attract select independent convenience store operators who may be looking for a change -- or such things as the global brand recognition, power of scale, technology, training, merchandising, new product introduction, and inventory management support that the giant convenience store chain can provide.

    So far this year, 29 independent stores have been converted to 7-Eleven-branded outlets, several of which include gasoline operations. Citing the recently announced agreement with Firsthand Management LLC, the retail operating arm of Centennial, Col.-based fuel distributor Balmar Petroleum, to convert 10 of its northern Colorado stores, 7-Eleven expects to have about 40 new BCP stores operating by the end of the year.

    "As expected, the program is generating a lot of positive attention," Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven's spokeswoman, told CSNews Online. "7-Eleven had a presence at the national NACS convention, and there were many independent operators and gasoline jobbers who expressed interest in learning more about the program and potentially converting their convenience outlets to the 7-Eleven brand," she said. "Business owners have conveyed to us that they find the offer compelling. 7-Eleven is a well-recognized brand in convenience retail, and we offer extensive infrastructure and support to 7-Eleven store operators."

    7-Eleven's president and CEO, Joe DePinto, gave one of the spotlighted addresses during the NACS Show in Atlanta. One of his key messages was that 7-Eleven is a company that is evolving to meet the changing needs of consumers. The company is focused on driving efficiency in the supply line, optimizing product assortment and innovation, improving the image and customer service at the stores and creating a high-performance culture. (See story, www.csnewsattheshow.com/2007/11/7-elevens-depin.html#more).

    At 7-Eleven's booth at the trade show, retailers learned about the company's proprietary, state-of-the-art retail information system, its "retailer initiative" product assortment focus, extensive supplier relationships and clout, and logistics that provide for daily delivery of fresh foods to its stores -- a competitive advantage.

    Anyone interested in learning more about 7-Eleven's BCP can review materials on the company's Web site, www.7-Eleven.com (click on the Real Estate tab).

    With 6,084 total stores, 7-Eleven is ranked No. 1 on the CSNews Top 100 (Aug. 27, 2007). That total is composed of 1,604 corporate stores and 4,480 franchised outlets.

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