7-Eleven is expanding in New Jersey, and at the Jersey Shore plans to add five new locations in Monmouth County and three in Ocean County this year alone, App.com reported.
Throughout the state, 7-Eleven plans to open 200 more stores in 2010 and 2011, according to The Goldstein Group, a commercial real estate firm in Paramus. The chain is no newcomer to New Jersey, where it already operates 31 stores in Monmouth County and 28 in Ocean County.
“7-Eleven stores in the area perform well, and we see a still growing demand from the consumer for additional 7-Eleven stores,” spokeswoman Margaret Chabris told App.com.
The chain is focusing on opening convenience stores, not gasoline stations, she added. Although the company has a program where gas station operators can convert their existing repair bay into a 7-Eleven.
Retail consultant Burt Flickinger III said 7-Eleven is taking offensive and defensive measures, strategically positioning itself against its biggest competitive threats: Wawa, which has multiple stores along the Jersey Shore, and Sheetz, based in Altoona, Pa., which does not have any stores in New Jersey.
“7-Eleven is trying to get as many good sites in New Jersey and New York City as 7-Eleven can to try to connect with more consumers before the twin powers of strength – Wawa and Sheetz – really take the New Jersey and New York and New England markets by storm over the next five to 15 years,” said Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resources. He added that New Jersey, with its high disposable incomes and balanced economy, is attractive to Wawa and Sheetz.
The good news for all is that c-stores remain popular. According to Strategic Resources, Flickinger’s firm, consumers between the ages of 14 and 35 will go to convenience stores three or more times a week as compared with a weekly supermarket trip.
7-Eleven is taking advantage of the high vacancy rates at strip malls and shopping, which allow it plenty of property choices.
“They are very smart and they are very aggressive,” said Chuck Lanyard, president of The Goldstein Group. “The marketplace is such that there are numerous opportunities out there that weren’t available before as a result of this economy.”
In Monmouth and Ocean counties, vacancy rates are between 3-13%, and landlords are happy to fill vacant space.
“Many other retailers are scaling back or reversing their growth plans,” said 7-Eleven’s Chabris. “In some cases, this opens the way for 7-Eleven to become an anchor tenant at a retail center.” One new store in Brick on Route 70 is expected to open in June, Chabris said. According to the Goldstein Group, other possible locations are in Neptune and the Freehold area.