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7-Eleven Inc. reportedly plans to open 200 new stores this year, 30 more than the 170 opened during 2008, a number that will be reached through ground-up units and conversions from other banners, locations in urban and suburban locales, and both freestanding and shopping center locations.

The goal is to grow the company aggressively at a time when many retailers are cutting back.

“7-Eleven is expanding amid the gloom of retail retrenching,” says Dan Porter, 7-Eleven’s vice president of real estate. “There is opportunity for our company to fill the void at once vibrant locations that are going vacant. We are flexible in that we will buy a site and remodel, sign 10-year shopping center, building or ground leases with options to renew or purchase a site at the right location and build a ground-up store.”

KC's View:
Traditional food retailers should be concerned not just about the store expansion, but the ways in which 7-Eleven is expanding its definition of its role in the marketplace…selling more and differentiated products.