Seven & I Holdings, the Japan-based parent of the Seven-11 convenience brand, said Thursday that its U.S. division had agreed to acquire 1,108 gas stations and convenience stores, including the food-focused Stripes brand, operated by Sunoco for $3.3 billion.
The acquisition will move 7-Eleven further toward a stated goal of operating 10,000 U.S. c-stores by 2020 and comes as U.S. convenience stores — particularly those with strong food programs — are seeing their fortunes improve in spite of declining gas prices.
The National Association of Convenience stores this week said non-gasoline sales at U.S. units improved by 3.2% to $233 billion in fiscal 2016, led by a 21.7% sales in the foodservice category, which includes prepared and commissary food, and dispensed beverages like coffee and soft drinks. C-stores also saw sales increase in 2016 in packaged beverages like soft drinks, water, juices and teas (+15%), center store offerings like salty snacks, sweets and alternative snacks (+9.8%) and beer (+6.7%), the trade group said.
These increases were offset somewhat by declining per-gallon gasoline prices leading to a 9.2% decline in their sales despite overall volume gains.
The Sunoco deal announced Thursday would provide Seven-11 with heavy concentrations of stores in Texas and the U.S. East Coast, as well as intellectual property of Sunoco brands Laredo Taco Co. and Stripes. SN’s sister publication Nation’s Restaurant News estimates suggest Stripes foodservice sales are about 1.5 times higher than 7-Eleven stores.
The deal does not include approximately 200 c-stores in Texas and Oklahoma; however, Sunoco on Thursday said it would initiate a separate sale process for those. The 7-Eleven deal also does not include Sunoco’s A-Plus stores operated by franchisees.
As part of the agreement, Seven-11 said it would buy gasoline from Sunoco for the sites for 15 years.