Mergers & Acquisitions

Guess’ Next Move Opens Door for Retailer Partners

Also showcases ‘upscale’ interior design, hints at customer service strategy

Editor’s Note: The Guess Corp. announced its intention in July to become a major player in the convenience-store industry. Several sources have questioned the legitimacy of the company to CSP Daily News, as previously reported. We continue to cover news from the company but offer the caveat that little is known about it. 

DURHAM, N.C. -- Looking for retailers to enact its vision, The Guess Corp. said it will begin accepting applications from individuals who want to become approved operating partners for its as-yet-unopened GP Express convenience stores. And following the release of its exterior design, Guess also has released the planned interior design for the GP Express locations.

The company said it will allow operating partners to own up to 40% of a GP Express c-store location. Operating partners must be individuals, and they will be allowed to own a partnership stake in only one store. They will be known as the managing partner, will maintain an office on site and be required to supervise the store’s management to ensure that the operation is successful and profitable, said Guess.

Operating partners will receive up to 40% of the profits of the store they operate on a monthly basis.

Candidates for an operating partnership with Guess Corp.’s GP Express will need to have a liquid net worth of $750,000 excluding real estate, at least five years of experience in the retail industry, a clean background and a college degree. They will be required to participate in an equity contribution program over a specified period of time.

If approved, operating partners will undergo a “rigorous” 90-day training program, work with the company’s real-estate broker on site selection, oversee construction locally and facilitate the launch of the store in which they will become an operating partner.

Guess Corp.’s petroleum unit, Guess Petroleum Ltd., will cover the majority of the construction and operating costs for each location and will reserve the right to terminate operating partner contracts and appoint a replacement operating partner.

In mid-July, Guess Corp. made news when it announced that it is seeking to acquire at least 1,000 convenience stores in the next 12 months at an average of 100 c-stores per month.

All of the 1,000 planned locations will have an operating partner, the company said.

Also, Guess will allow GP Express to develop an EB-5 program for immigrants pursuing viable business opportunities in the United States that will allow foreign nationals to become operating partners as part of the U.S. investor visa program.

A ‘Boutique’ Peek

Orlando, Fla.-based Scott+Cormia is Guess Corp.’s exclusive architect and is overseeing its designs for GP Express. Also, it will handle nationwide construction and project management as stores are built or renovated as part of an acquisition.

As described by Guess, the interior design (see below) features an open layout that is similar to that of a small grocery store.

The design aims at being an upscale store with a boutique feel for the convenience-store and retail gasoline market. Each store will have a sitting area along with a dining area for an in-store deli and restaurant and an upper level that overlooks the lower level of the store.

Revealing a bit of the company’s customer service strategy, Guess said that employees will be assigned to sections of the store and equipped with mobile payment devices so that customers do not have to visit the main register for checkout. Employees will also wear uniforms with aprons and be required to carry bags to the vehicles of customers. The stores will also offer full-service fueling. Attendants will be available to pump gasoline for customers without them having to get out of their vehicle. The design also features a car wash.

“We are pleased to share more information on this exciting undertaking as The Guess Corp. continues working toward revolutionizing the gas/convenience store industry with an upscale experience that we believe customers will welcome,” said Cutie Shrestha, senior executive vice president and chief development officer for Guess.

Privately held Guess Corp. began as a luxury-goods holding company in 2012 with a focus on diamonds and has expanded into other businesses, including wine, chocolate, food, beverages, coffee and tea, according to its website. Major business lines include private jets, yachts, automobiles, fine art, private islands, casinos, hotels, publishing and lumber, among others.

 

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