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SAN FRANCISCO-7-Eleven, Inc. plans to add more than 50 new stores in Northern California by the end of 2011 as part of a larger national growth initiative. The Dallas, TX-based owner and franchiser of some 6,300 US stores has tapped St. Louis-based Colliers Corporate Solutions to assist with identifying and securing sites for the two-year expansion plan, which includes approximately 20 more stores in 2010 and approximately 30 in 2011.

Nationally, 7-Eleven is looking to open 250 stores in 2010 and more than 300 in 2011 on top of the 200 it expects to have opened in 2009 and the 170 it opened in 2008. The company says the growth is coming from acquisitions and business conversions as well as developing new locations. The company has tripled the size of its Northern California real estate team in the past two years to prepare for the expansion.

“We are committed to adding 50-plus new stores to the 500 we already have in Northern California,” says 7-Eleven’s new store development executive Dan Porter. “We want to quickly identify new locations and take advantage of opportunities throughout the region.”

Porter says the company will pursue numerous types of real estate development in both urban and suburban locations, including end-cap space in shopping centers and free-standing stores. The company also wants to be a part of urban renewal in its growth markets.

“The conditions of the retail real estate market are creating great opportunities for retail users who are currently growing their portfolios,” adds Greg Schuster, senior vice president of Colliers Corporate Solutions, a division of St. Louis-basd Colliers Turley Martin Tucker. “The success of the 7-Eleven brand and operating model are very attractive to property owners.”

A big part of the company’s growth strategy is to convert existing independent convenience stores to the 7-Eleven brand, either by acquiring them for the corporate chain or having them become a 7-11 franchisee. The company says approximately 150 stores have converted to the 7-Eleven brand since the initiative began in 2006.

The typical 7-Eleven stores range from 2,400 to 3,000 square feet and are located in densely populated areas with strong daytime traffic and multiple business and/or residential properties nearby. The company says it looks for anchor space in shopping centers (with or without gasoline service capabilities), free-standing, downtown, walk-up and urban locations.

In addition to its US operations, 7-Eleven operates, franchises, or licenses approximately 30,000 stores in 15 countries. During 2008, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $53.7 billion.

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