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    ExxonMobil to Abandon Direct-Served Retail

    Oil giant tells CSNews Online that it remains committed to fuel branding.

    By W.B. King

    FAIRFAX, Va. -- ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing Co. announced yesterday that it will transition out of the direct-served dealer and company-operated retail business in U.S. markets.

    "We believe this is best way to grow and compete now and in the future. Transitioning out of the direct-served business in the U.S., with a majority of markets converting to branded distributor, will build on the strength of our current distributor network," downstream ExxonMobil spokesperson, Prem Nair told CSNews Online. "This conversion will transition, over a multi-year period, a majority of markets to branded distributors."

    When asked how long the deal has been in the works, Nair said she could not provide specifics but explained, "we are continually looking at competitiveness and how we can improve on that front, which is not just focused on retail business. The fuels marketing sector continues to be challenging with reduced margins and significant competitive growth from hypermarkets, petropreneurs and grocer markets in the US."

    Nair told CSNews Online that this initiative will include the conversion of a majority of markets to branded distributor in order to build on the strength of its current distributor network, which is roughly 75 percent of all locations. "We have a strong network," she said.

    Citing quality and dependability, Nair explained that Exxon and Mobil fuels will remain a branded distributor. "We are committed to a strong brand presence in the markets in which we do business, and view the distributor method of site operation to be the best platform for the future," she told CSNews Online.

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