7-Eleven has said that it plans to increase its convenience store network by 630 outlets in the US and Canada by the end of the year.

The target, announced yesterday (20 May), will surpass its 2011 tally of 600 stores built, acquired or transitioned from another business to the 7-Eleven brand in the US and Canada, the retailer said.

“7-Eleven’s US growth strategy includes building greater market presence and adding quality locations in metropolitan areas where the company already has stores as a means to increase efficiencies and leverage the company’s scale and daily-delivery infrastructure,” said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto.

“The financial strength of 7-Eleven has enabled us to grow aggressively, even in what has been a challenging economic environment for many companies in the past four years,” he added.

The retailer added around 4,600 global stores in 2011 and said it plans to continue the company’s growth. This year, 7-Eleven has acquired 55 locations from Sam’s Mart in the Carolinas and 51 from ExxonMobil in North Texas.

The company said it expects to announce more acquisitions in the coming months.

“In the world of real estate and development, it has been a buyer’s market, and we have been in the enviable position to capitalise on property and space availability plus 7-Eleven’s strong credit rating,” said 7-Eleven real estate VP Dan Porter.

Through the expansion, 7-Eleven will re-enter two markets – Jacksonville, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina – where it had operated stores until the 1980s. The retailer said it also plans to double its 20-store presence in Manhattan in the next year and grow to around 135 units by 2017.

Based in Dallas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses around 9,200 7-Eleven stores in North America.