Single Store Owner

APR 2016

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6 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / APRIL 2016 perspectives Single Stores Are Engine of U.S. C-store Count Growth Independents accounted for nearly three-quarters of industry's 2015 increase On a state-by-state basis, Texas continues to lead in overall c-store count with 15,607 stores. The rest of the top 10 states for convenience stores are: California (11,540 stores), Florida (9,909), New York (8,446), Georgia (6,765), North Carolina (6,330), Ohio (5,605), Michigan (4,880), Illinois (4,732) and Pennsylvania (4,706) — the same top 10 as the previous year. Among all retail channels Nielsen tracks, conve- nience stores accounted for 34.2 percent of all retail locations as of Dec. 31, 2015, far outpacing the su- perettes, supermarkets and supercenters segment (51,055 stores), drugstore segment (41,969 stores) and dollar store segment (27,378 stores). During the past three decades, the c-store industry has roughly doubled in size, up from 90,900 stores at year-end 1985, according to the NACS/Nielsen data. T he number of U.S. convenience stores increased nearly 1 percent year over year to 154,195 stores as of Dec. 31, 2015, up from 152,794 stores as of Dec. 31, 2014, according to the 2016 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. Once again, store-count growth in the past year was dominated by single-store operators. Single-store operators represented 74.3 percent of the industry's store-count growth in 2015 and now account for 63.1 percent of all U.S. convenience stores (97,359 single stores in total), reported NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, and Nielsen. By comparison, single stores accounted for 83.5 percent of the industry's 2014 store-count growth and represented 60.3 percent of all c-stores in the nation (96,318 in total) that year. D allas-based 7-Eleven Inc. brought back its Zero Franchise Fee initiative, based on the success of last year's inaugural program, which enabled 100 people to become new 7-Eleven store owners or multiple store owners. Under the Zero Franchise Fee initia- tive, the retailer will waive the franchise fee on a select number of its U.S. con- venience stores available for franchising — a savings of up to $80,000. The 2016 program includes approximately 300 eligible 7-Eleven stores in such markets as Dallas; Cleveland; Charlotte, N.C.; Vir- ginia Beach, Va.; and Buffalo, N.Y. These stores typically have lower sales volume compared to the national average. To qualify for the offer, a candidate must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency; have three to five years of retail, operations and management experience; and have excellent credit and at least $50,000 in liquid assets. Prospective franchise owners will still be responsible for the costs of licensing, permits and the initial downpayment on inventory, totaling approximately $30,000. Prospective franchisees for Zero Franchise Fee stores will also undergo the standard 7-Eleven franchise approval process, which takes between five and seven months. "Becoming a 7-Eleven franchisee without the upfront expense of a fran- chise fee makes it an attainable goal for many who otherwise might not be able to own their own business," said Lawrence Hughes, 7-Eleven's vice president of franchise systems. The Zero Franchise Fee initiative returns as 7-Eleven has grown its store base by more than 1,600 locations through acquisitions and new construction over the past five years. The nation's largest c-store operator said it wants to transi- tion these stores from company to franchise operations now that they have an established customer base. 7-Eleven Brings Back Zero Franchise Fee Initiative Roughly 300 stores are eligible in second-annual program

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