24/03/2014 - 09:29

7-Eleven heading west

24/03/2014 - 09:29


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A major international franchise chain is preparing the ground for an assault on WA’s retail convenience sector.

7-Eleven heading west
MOVING IN: 7-Eleven Stores wants to buy or lease properties in Perth.

A major international franchise chain is preparing the ground for an assault on WA’s retail convenience sector.

7-Eleven Stores is planning to enter the Western Australian market, with the convenience store chain currently negotiating leases on at least 15 sites.

The Melbourne-based business has spent about four months working on property acquisitions in Perth, including presentations to agents where it outlined its desire to buy or lease properties of between 150 and 200 square metres.

In recent weeks it is believed to have finalised agreements with some property owners.

Business News understand the 7-Eleven board, which includes prominent Perth company director and iiNet chairman Michael Smith, was presented with details of the Perth strategy at a meeting earlier this month.

Its entry this year will add to big changes in the retail market following the entry of the Masters hardware brand into WA and the planned launch of German supermarket group ALDI.

ALDI is planning to build a network of 70 supermarkets in this state.

To support its WA entry, ALDI has contracted to buy a site in Jandakot, where it plans to build a 48,000sqm warehouse and distribution centre, due for completion in 2016.

ALDI is also starting to build a local network of suppliers, with WA managing director Andrew Starr presenting to more than 100 local suppliers earlier this month.

Another supermarket group looking at the WA market is US-based CostCo, which currently has five giant warehouse-style stores on the east coast.

A CostCo spokesperson told Business News the group was focused on new store developments on the east coast for the next two years, but WA was part of its growth plans.

“We definitely want to be there in the future,” she said. “It’s really a question of when available sites come up.”

7-Eleven is focused on the convenience store niche.

That will put it up against brands such as Coles Express, which has 49 Perth outlets in Shell petrol stations, and Woolworths outlets in BP stations.

Another competitor is Metcash, which has 50 IGA Xpress stores in WA and about 10 Lucky 7 City Fresh stores.

Sydney-based City Convenience Store, which has 180 outlets nationally, also has a presence in the WA market with handful of CBD stores.

7-Eleven opened in Australia in 1977 and currently operates around 600 stores in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.  

Most of the stores are operated by some 400 franchisees.

Melbourne’s Withers/Barlow family owns the Australian business, with a licence to operate and franchise stores from the US-based 7-Eleven Inc.

In 2010, 7-Eleven in Australia acquired the Mobil retail fuel business, comprising 295 service stations.

At the time, 7-Eleven said it would have 650 stores in Australia and annual turnover of $2.84 billion.

After spending two years rebranding the Mobil stores into 7-Eleven livery, the two groups had a change of tack at the start of the year.

They announced in January a new long-term agreement that will result in the return of Mobil branding to 7-Eleven stores on the east coast.

Worldwide, 7-Eleven operates more than 51,000 stores in 16 countries,

7-Eleven declined requests to comment on its WA plans.


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