Texas Fold 'Em

Through selloff deals, Landmark acquires 80 ExxonMobil Dallas sites, while 7-Eleven takes 51

Linda Abu-Shalback Zid, Senior Editor

HOUSTON -- Exxon Mobil Corp. has confirmed for CSP Daily News that it has sold essentially all its retail sites in Texas, 80 in the Houston market to Landmark Industries, 51 in the Dallas market to 7-Eleven Inc. and another 59 sites to a yet-to-be-named entity. The selloff also extends to Louisiana, where ExxonMobil has sold its 33 On the Run stores to Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
(For more on ExxonMobil's selloff, see related story in this issue of CSP Daily News).

Landmark is acquiring the 80 On the Run convenience stores in Houston, as well [image-nocss] as three vacant parcels of land, Kevin Doody, a Landmark consultant, told CSP Daily News.

With the acquisition, expected to be completed by the end of the year, the 157-store chain will increase in size by more than 50%--and Doody said the company is looking forward to taking advantage of "economies of scale."

"As we get larger, you absolutely run into certain efficiencies--the distribution network that has to look after these stores and everything that we do in terms of the operations--so we think it will be a nice fit," said Doody.

He added, "It's a goal to take over the stores sometime in late November or mid-December."

The company plans to rebrand the sites to its Timewise Food Stores, but Doody does not anticipate much additional work. "The stores have been well taken care of, and they have recently put some money into the locations and not a great deal of refacing needs to be done." He added that in addition to some facework, painting and landscaping will be updated and canopy lighting will be switched to modern LED lighting.

The stores also fit with the Timewise stores' target market. "These are quality locations that are kept up to date and tend to market to a little bit of a sophisticated customer who wants quality and value in their merchandise, so it's just a perfect fit for what we do," he said.

And exemplifying true southern hospitality and Timewise's promise of "neighborly" employees, Doody said, "We're looking forward to being nice to everybody."

He said the company also plans to keep up on efforts to build seven to 10 ground-up locations a year. "We'll just continue on our path from one store to now a much larger chain," he said.

Rachael Moore, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil, confirmed the acquisition for CSP Daily News and added that stations will retain the Exxon gasoline brand, allowing consumers to continue to purchase Exxon fuels and use their ExxonMobil credit cards and Speedpass devices.

"This transaction is consistent with our June 2008 communication that we would be transitioning a majority of our remaining company-owned stations to the branded wholesaler model," she said.

Headquartered in Houston, Landmark Industries owns and operates 157 convenience stores under various major fuel brands. Landmark also is a leading wholesale petroleum distributor of Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Texaco and Valero branded products to independent convenience store and grocery store operators in the Texas marketplace.

Meanwhile, 7-Eleven said that it has agreed to acquire ExxonMobil's retail interests in 51 North Texas sites. As reported yesterday in a Morgan Keegan/CSP Daily News Flash, the transaction is anticipated to close in late 2011, subject to standard closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 51 stores account for all of ExxonMobil's sites in the Dallas market. Meanwhile, Exxon has two other markets in Texas yet to divest.

The sites, all of which are in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area, will be rebranded as 7-Eleven stores. The stations will retain the Exxon gasoline brand, allowing consumers to continue to purchase Exxon fuels and use their ExxonMobil credit cards and Speedpass devices.

"This acquisition fits well with our aggressive growth strategy," said Sean Duffy, 7-Eleven vice president of mergers and acquisitions. "In terms of store growth, 2011 promises to be 7-Eleven's biggest year since 1986."

After the transaction closes late this year, 7-Eleven will start remodeling and rebranding the locations, with the bulk of the work anticipated to be completed by the end of 2012. Each location will carry 7-Eleven signature products, such as Slurpee and Big Gulp beverages, fresh food and grill offerings, along with standard convenience-store items. The stores also will be available for franchise.

Duffy added, "These high-volume locations complement our existing real estate portfolio in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The combination of the 7-Eleven and Exxon brands will make a compelling retail option for convenience-oriented consumers."

7-Eleven will extend job offers to ExxonMobil employees who are affected by this acquisition upon successful completion of their pre-employment screening process and continued satisfactory performance.

Currently, 7-Eleven, Inc. operates and franchises 339 stores in the greater DFW and Austin areas of Texas (239 are in DFW). The company has added seven 7-Eleven stores in these areas since the start of 2011.

7-Eleven, based in Dallas, operates, franchises or licenses more than 8,800 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are at least 42,700 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $63 billion.