7-Eleven, Inc., the largest convenience store chain in the world, with over 9,000 stores in North America, is continuing its rapid expansion and growth. In the beginning of 2013, 7-Eleven acquired 143 new locations through a purchase of Tigermart and Speedy Stop locations from the Texas-based C. L. Thomas, Inc. The purchase included gasoline distribution to more than 100 dealer-operated locations, strengthening 7-Eleven's base structure in the Texas market.
In April of 2013, 7-Eleven expanded its reach in South Carolina by acquiring 46 new locations from CB Mart, Inc. The purchase brings 7-Eleven's store count in the state to more than 100, after its acquisition of 13 Fast Track stores and 55 Sam's Mart units near the end of 2012.
7-Eleven is currently on track in 2013 to beat its record-setting growth of nearly 5,000 stores over the course of 2012. The year prior, 7-Eleven had added nearly 1,000 stores in Canada and the United States. The company is looking to expand its presence in busy metropolitan areas by stimulating its franchise in Canada and other strong markets.
The company's expansion isn't just limited to market locations. 7-Eleven is also taking advantage of consumer interest in technology. In April of 2013, 7-Eleven officially announced its partnership with smartphone application provider, YooLotto. The new application, which allows mobile phone users to check their lotto tickets by simply taking a photograph of the ticket, is partnering with 7-Eleven exclusively for its Texas launch.
7-Eleven has turned to viral marketing and social media as part of its marketing campaign. The company released a 7-Eleven application for most commercially available smartphones this year to alert customers to specials. The application can also provide customers with special coupons for and deals on new items as well as the location of and hours for the nearest 7-Eleven store. By giving customers options and information at their fingertips, 7-Eleven has increased its already strong brand recognition and created a platform for customer feedback.
Along with location and technological expansion, 7-Eleven is revising its offerings to increase appeal to consumers. In March of 2013, 7-Eleven announced two premium sandwich additions to its lunch choice, the Bistro Deluxe and the Steakhouse Roast Beef. Both sandwiches feature fresh premium ingredients, including baby spinach and tomatoes and are part of 7-Eleven's 'eating good while on the go' campaign. 7-Eleven aims to increase the appeal of convenience store food by providing more variety and fresher options, according to Kelly Buckley, Vice President of the company's Fresh Food Innovations Department.
The premium sandwiches are the newest addition to the 7-Eleven's growing menu, which includes healthier salad options and smaller versions of popular items. The new food plan includes special green packing for food items that neatly displays the ingredients and is designed to call attention to the freshness of the food. During the month of March, customers using the 7-Eleven application were able to get a free bottle of Pepsi when purchasing one of the new sandwiches.