BusinessWorld Online:

Listed 24-hour convenience store operator Philippine Seven Corp. is considering opening branches in the Visayas and Mindanao, most likely next year.

The operator of the 7-Eleven chain of stores also seeks to open 80 more branches this year as part of efforts to expand its network in Northern and Southern Luzon.

Philippine Seven Comptroller Lawrence de Leon said the 80 new stores would bring 7-Eleven’s store count to 450 by year-end. The company ended 2008 with 370 stores.

Out of the 80 new stores this year, 40 will be company-owned, while the other half will be opened through franchising. “We hope to have a 50-50 mix in company-owned and franchised stores by the end of the year,” Mr. de Leon said. At the end of last year, 45% of 7-Eleven stores were company-owned.

Small convenience stores usually sell junk food such as candies, ice cream and soft drinks, as well as wine, lottery tickets, newspapers and magazines, along with a small selection of food and grocery supplies.

Stores that are part of gas stations may also sell motor oil, maps and other transport-related products.

These stores are often located along busy roads, in densely populated urban neighborhoods. Most are open 24 hours, but customers often pay for higher prices in exchange for this convenience.

The company has allotted P240 million for store expansion this year. Mr. de Leon said they would spend P4 million each for the construction and acquisition of equipment of the 40 company-owned stores. They are spending P2 million each for the 40 franchised outlets.