7-Eleven Australia Initiates Sale Process for Change of Ownership

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The future of Australia’s beloved convenience retailer is now hanging in the balance as it goes up for sale, marking a significant shift after nearly 50 years of operation.

7-Eleven Australia’s chairman, Michael Smith, stated in a letter to shareholders on May 1 that the decision to change ownership of the 750-store chain was due to the “right timing.” The company, known for its nationwide network of fuel and convenience stores, is anticipated to fetch up to $3 billion upon sale.

“Across our network of stores, it’s business as usual, and our focus is on our customers and being the first choice in convenience retailing in Australia,” Mr Smith said.

Since its humble beginnings as a single store in Melbourne in 1977, 7-Eleven has thrived under the ownership of the Withers and Barlow family, licensed to operate and franchise stores by 7-Eleven Inc. Today, the chain proudly operates 750 stores across Victoria, New South Wales, ACT, Queensland, and South Australia, processing an impressive 250 million transactions each year.

With a $300 million annual turnover, the decision to put the chain up for sale may surprise the countless individuals who have long relied on its ubiquitous presence and extended operating hours. 

However, Gary Mortimer, a retail consumer behaviour expert at QUT, sees the family’s move to sell as a prudent decision.

“This is a business underpinned by fuel retailing as well as tobacco products and snacks,” Professor Mortimer said. “All of those categories are projected to decline over the next one or two decades.”

According to Australian Association of Convenience Stores ( AACS) data, non-food retail in the sector experienced a 1.6% decline in 2022, primarily due to a 3% drop in tobacco sales.

Amid evolving consumer behaviours and market dynamics, this iconic convenience retail chain’s future rests in prospective new owners’ hands.

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