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    Convenience Ranks High on Top Worldwide Franchises

    Franchise Times list names 7-Eleven No. 2, while Circle K rounds out top 10.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- The convenience industry was well represented on Franchise Times's list of the Top 200 franchises, as ranked by sales. 7-Eleven placed second on the global list, being beaten out by McDonald’s, even though 7-Eleven places first when ranked by locations, at 31,680 units compared to McDonald's 31,046 locations.

    "In America, there is a constant reshuffling of the franchise landscape. Franchising remains a very strong and competitive facet of the American economy," Mary Jo Larson, Franchise Times publisher said in a statement. "Abroad, companies are seeing the potential that an international franchise offers. With more than 123,000 operating locations outside America and an established demand, we expect this growth trend to continue."

    The companies on the Top 200 managed collective worldwide sales of nearly $445 billion, a more than 6 percent increase from last year, the company stated. While sales for the top franchises were remarkable, unit growth was not so, as an additional 5,879 units grew franchised store counts by 1.5 percent. This could be attributed to a trend by domestic franchisees to shed units, to offset continued global expansion by international companies, which saw an additional 6,500 foreign locations, the company stated.

    Globally, the total number of franchise-operated units continues to outnumber company-operated units by a ratio slightly more than four to one, according to the company's report. The list also gives evidence of greater competition to the convenience industry from other channels. The 17 companies on the list categorized within the quick-serve-restaurant sector had sales in excess of $1 billion last year.

    The ranking's retail companies -- of which convenience stores are categorized -- managed collective sales of $76 billion in 2006, 17 percent of the entire Top 200. The category also made up 17 percent of units on the Top 200, according to the company. The retail category is led by 7-Eleven, operator of some 25,000 international convenience stores, which also placed it first in number of foreign units, the company stated.

    Many of the other major players in the convenience industry also placed on the list. Following 7-Eleven, Circle K fell four spots from last year, landing at No. 10, with more than $8 billion in worldwide sales and more than 6,400 units worldwide.

    Jack in the Box, operator of Quick Stuff convenience stores that are attached to the company's restaurants, fell two spots to No. 36. The company’s more than 2,700 locations saw approximately $2.7 billion in sales in 2006.

    And following closely is BP America's ampm franchise at No. 39. More than 3,300 units make up the chain, which is 88 percent franchised, the list stated.

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