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LOS ANGELES-Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has named CB Richard Ellis Inc. as the exclusive broker for a store expansion throughout Southern California. The expansion will be “an aggressive growth plan “that will include more than 100 new stores across the Southland in the next three years, according to CBRE and 7-Eleven.

The Dallas-based chain plans to invest approximately $50 million on the expansion this year and more than $60 million for 2010. The planned store expansion will span seven counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

The expansion will add to a 7-Eleven Southern California store count of approximately 800 locations, with nearly 50 of the new stores expected to open this year. The chain added 20 new stores in Southern California in 2008.

The expansion is rare news in a national retail leasing slowdown caused by the recession, which is affecting retail space in all US markets. CBRE’s announcement about the expansion quotes Dan Porter, 7-Eleven vice president of real estate and new store development, who says that 7-Eleven is “committed to investing in Southern California through new store development, remodeling existing locations and creating more franchise and other business opportunities.” He adds that 7-Eleven “wants to quickly identify new locations and take advantage of opportunities throughout the region.”

Typical 7-Eleven stores have 2,400 to 3,000 square feet of selling space. Flexibility is a significant component in 7-Eleven’s growth strategy, according to Porter. He says the company likes in-line, end-cap space in shopping centers as well as freestanding stores and downtown, urban locations.

Another part of 7-Eleven’s growth strategy is its Business Conversion Program, whereby the company looks for existing independent retail stores that want to convert to the national chain and become a part of 7-Eleven’s franchise system. The company also wants to be part of growth in neighborhoods that are undergoing revitalization.

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