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7-Eleven leads the private company pack
Focusing on customers’ needs and expansion has driven the chain’s revenue Premium content from Dallas Business Journal by Bill Hethcock, Staff Writer Date: Friday, August 17, 2012, 5:00am CDT - Last Modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 12:11pm CDT Enlarge Image

Jake Dean
Slurpee heaven: Growing through acquisition has helped 7-Eleven expand into markets based on convenience, not gas sales, says Darren Rebelez, chief operating officer and executive vice president.  

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Bill Hethcock
Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal
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A supercharged expansion plan and a focus on in-store sales boosted revenue for convenience store giant 7-Eleven Inc. a whopping 22 percent last year, solidifying the Slurpee maker’s position as North Texas’ largest private company. Revenue at the rest of the 10 largest private companies based in North Texas increased an average of 3.3 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to Dallas Business Journal research. Those nine companies — which include names like Michaels Stores, Neiman Marcus Group and Mary Kay Inc. — collectively grew their revenues to $35.9 billion last year from $34.7 billion in 2010. Dallas-based 7-Eleven single-handedly grew its top line to $20.5 billion last year from $16.8 billion in 2010. The company added 600 stores in the United States and Canada and is on track to add more than 630 this year, saidDarren Rebelez, chief operating officer and executive vice president for 7-Eleven Inc. The big growth areas for the company were in markets where 7-Eleven already had stores, including southern California, Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey and the Upper Midwest, said Rebelez, who oversees store development and growth. This week, 7-Eleven announced an agreement to purchase San Antonio-basedTetco Inc.’s retail and wholesale assets, which include roughly 200 stores. The deal is expected to close in November and will mark the return of 7-Eleven stores to San Antonio, where the company had operated until 1989. The chain’s growth has come through a mix of traditional store development, acquisitions and a store conversion program in which 7-Eleven buys an existing store and transforms it into one of its own, Rebelez said. “That gives us the ability to grow without actually building a store,” he said. “We just convert it into a 7-Eleven.” 7-Eleven also has focused on reducing its dependence on fuel sales, which allows the company to put stores in urban locations where fuel pumps aren’t an option, Rebelez said. For instance, the chain now has stores on the bottom floor of office and high-density residential buildings in Dallas, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he said. “Those are places you would never be able to sell gasoline because you just can’t get the real estate,” Rebelez said. “We are able to develop very successful stores in those environments where others can’t, and there’s just pent-up demand for convenience there.” In the Tetco deal, the assets include company-operated convenience stores...

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