USA: 7-Eleven starts nationwide beer delivery service

7-Eleven, one of the leading convenience store chains in the United States, has officially launched last Friday a beer and cider delivery service in 18 markets throughout the country. The food retailer, which is mainly known as a go-to stop for last-minute items, introduced the service through its 7Now app where it sells beers like Budweiser, Bud Light, Stella Artois, Miller Light, Coors Light, Heineken, Corona, Dos Equis, Modelo, Dogfish Head, Blue Moon and Angry Orchard ciders.

As a means of diversifying from the classical corner-store business, 7-Eleven debuted in 2017 its delivery app to bring the store’s wide selection of food items, beverages, medicine and even toilet paper to customer’s doors. Of course, people can also order a Slurpee, the company’s more than 50-year-old iconic frozen carbonated beverage which is sold at every 7-Eleven store.

Furthermore, the company acquired last year Laredo Taco Co., a restaurant chain, to test new concepts of mixed food and retail stores and to make people sit down and stay awhile. The first concept store opened in March at the company’s headquarter in Dallas, Texas, and five more are planned in locations including San Diego, CA and Washington, D.C.

"Convenience retailing is light years away from the days of bread and milk being sold from ice docks in 1927, and the industry is changing at a faster rate than ever before," 7-Eleven's vice president and chief operating officer Chris Tanco said in press release. "7-Eleven stays at the forefront by pushing the boundaries and being unafraid to try new things,” he added.

The 7-Eleven chain, originated 1927 in the United States as Tote'm Stores but was renamed in 1946 to reflect the extended opening hours. Nowadays, most 7-Eleven stores are open all day, 7 days a week, and serve as a quick stop-by for most items of the daily needs.

The company is owned by Seven & I Holdings, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, which was established on September 1, 2005 after the Japanese company bought 7-Eleven from its distressed American ownership the same year. It is now Japan’s biggest retail group and the fifteenth largest retailer in the world and operates, franchises, and licenses 67,480 stores in 17 countries as of December 2018.

In January 2018, 7Eleven Inc., the U.S. arm of the company, acquired for USD3.3 billion approximately 1,030 Sunoco convenience stores located in 17 states from American gas company Sunoco.

Recently, the company came under pressure in Japan to abandon its 24-hour store policy after complaints by franchise owners, some of whom were forced to keep working amid massive snowstorms or in the wake of a family death. As a consequence, Seven & I Holdings replaced last month the head of its 7-Eleven convenience store business, President Kazuki Furuya, by Japan Vice President Fumihiko Nagamatsu.

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