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    Valero Begins Texas Downsize

    Company also plans to phase out the Total brand over the next three years.

    TEXARKANA, Texas -- Two Total convenience stores in the Texarkana area have closed and will not re-open. A third store is slated to close in the near future, a company spokesman said.

    Valero Energy Corp., owner of the Total brand, said the closings are not a sign of hard times, but that the company is positioning its business for future growth. "We want higher quality stores, with better offerings," Valero spokeswoman Denise Brady told the Texarkana Gazette. "All employees at the closing locations are being transferred to different stores."

    San Antonio-based Valero has over 1,400 company-operated stores nationwide under five name brands: Diamond Shamrock, Valero, Ultramar, Beacon and Total.

    Valero is doing a complete network rationalization, said Brady. That means they are in the process of deciding which convenience stores to upgrade and which to divest. Factors considered include a store's profitability, location and future demographics, the report said.

    A May 2002 Valero management presentation outlined the company's strategy to strengthen its position in the current competitive market. Its retail network has experienced under-investment. Those stores that show the best potential will be upgraded.

    There are 11 Valero-owned stores in Texarkana and one franchise. Total locations will come under the brand name of Diamond Shamrock. The Total brand name is to be completely phased out over the next three years. Locations which are kept will be remodeled and the focus will be placed on merchandising improvements, Brady said.

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