The Story of Convenience Shopping
7-Eleven pioneered the convenience store concept way back in 1927 at the Southland Ice Company 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 Corporation to 7-Eleven, Inc. in 1999.
Today, 7-Eleven is the undisputed leader in convenience retailing with more than 27,900 stores operating in the U.S. and 17 other countries and total sales of more than $36 billion in 2003.
More than 5,800 7-Eleven and other convenience stores are operated and franchised by 7-Eleven, Inc. in the United States and Canada, and they serve approximately six million customers each day.
Each store focuses on meeting the needs of busy shoppers by providing a broad selection of fresh, high-quality products and services at everyday fair prices, along with speedy transactions and a clean, safe, friendly shopping environment.
7-Eleven is known internationally for Big Gulp fountain soft drinks, Big Bite hot dogs, Slurpee beverages, and Café Select fresh brewed coffee. The stores have expanded their food service offerings with a proprietary line of deli items and baked goods, which are prepared and delivered fresh daily.
7-Eleven also offers convenient services based on each neighborhood's individual needs, including automated money orders, copiers, fax and automatic teller machines, long-distance phone cards and lottery tickets, where available.
Approximately 3,200 of the company's 5,300 stores in the United States are operated by franchisees, and an additional 485 are operated by licensees. 7-Eleven, Inc., its licensees and affiliates operate more than 27,900 7-Eleven and other convenience stores in Japan, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, the Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, Thailand, Norway, Turkey, Malaysia, China and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and Guam.
IYG Holding Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ito-Yokado Co., Ltd. and Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., has owned a majority interest in 7-Eleven since 1991. Seven-Eleven Japan operates more than 10,000 7-Eleven stores in Japan and Hawaii under an area license agreement with 7-Eleven, Inc.
In 2002, 7-Eleven, Inc. celebrated its 75th birthday.
Since its inception, 7-Eleven has accomplished a number of milestones. Here is an overview.