UNSHAKEN by the aggressiveness of competitors in the convenience store sector, Philippine Seven Corp. (PSC), the local franchisor of global brand 7-Eleven, is doubling its current store network of 1,000 by 2015, which will sustain its premier position in the industry. The 1,000th store opened at the I.T. Building along Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City.
At the opening of its 1,000th store in early January, Jose Victor Paterno, PSC president and chief executive officer, said that the network expansion would be mostly in the provinces, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, where consumers are still depending heavily for their daily household needs in supermarkets of the big malls that operate on limited time frames.
People in these areas have yet to experience buying their immediate needs from 24-hour store chains both for convenience and peace of mind.
As PSC targets to open 300 more 7-Eleven stores in 2014, it plans to continue expanding in the Visayas, particularly in Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo.
Another key factor in its ongoing expansion is successful partnerships such as with Chevron Philippines Inc., with whom it had partnered since 2013 in opening 50 stores.
Paterno attributes 7-Eleven’s successful growth to the continuous innovations in unique products, exciting promos and events. Recently, the company launched its first loyalty program, the “Every Day! Rewards Card” out of its gratitude to customers. Cardholders are able to earn points with every P50 purchase, single or accumulated, which can be used in redeeming rewards like the Disney Music Box and other products on the rewards catalog.
PSC, the local franchisor of 7-Eleven, was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in November 1982. It acquired from Southland Corp. (now 7-Eleven Inc.) of Dallas, Texas, the license to operate 7-Eleven stores in the Philippines on December 13, 1982. Operations commenced with the opening of its first store on February 29, 1984, at the corner of Kamias Road and EDSA, Quezon City.
Seeing potential in 7-Eleven in the Philippines in 2000, President Chain Store Corp. (Taiwan) purchased 50.4 percent of PSC to strengthen the company and help it grow its stores. Starting 2005, franchising became the focus of the company. On the average, 7-Eleven stores are growing 20 percent annually.
In 2007, the Philippine Franchise Association inducted PSC into the Hall of Fame, after having been awarded International Franchise of the Year three times in a row. PSC has grown into a franchise company with 60 percent of its stores operated by entrepreneurs.
7-Eleven pioneered the convenience store concept back in 1927 at the Southland Ice Co. in Dallas, Texas. In addition to selling blocks of ice to refrigerate food, an enterprising ice dock employee began offering milk, bread and eggs on Sundays and evenings when grocery stores were closed. This new business idea produced satisfied customers and increased sales, and convenience retailing was born.
The company’s first convenience outlets were known as Tote’m stores since customers “toted” away their purchases, and some even sported genuine Alaskan totem poles in front. In 1946, Tote’m became 7-Eleven to reflect the stores’ new, extended hours—7 a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days a week. The company’s corporate name was changed from The Southland Corp. to 7-Eleven Inc. in 1999.
Today, 7-Eleven is the undisputed leader in convenience retailing. 7-Eleven Inc. is the world’s largest convenience retail chain. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company operates, franchises and licenses over 9,200 stores in North America alone.
Internationally, 7-Eleven licensees and affiliates operate more than 46,000 stores in 18 countries. It is the largest chain store in any category. 7-Eleven operates in countries including Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Philippines.
After promising in 2010 to have 500 more stores in the next three years, 7-Eleven successfully held a series of new store openings, including the first 7-Eleven in Cebu in 2012 and in Bacolod in 2013. Today, there are 54 stores in Visayas, mostly in Cebu City.