Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 40

cover story

Competitively Speaking
West Point. He has a great deal of respect and admiration for DePinto's leadership and his ability to be "an
inspirational visionary."
"Joe is very genuine and authentic. He wants to
serve - serve the customer, serve our franchisees, and
serve our own employees. At the same time, he's also a
very driven leader even as he remains humble, genuine
and authentic," Delgado-Jenkins explained.
He points to his friend's passion for innovation as
one of his greatest contributions to both 7-Eleven and
the convenience store industry as a whole. From 2005
through 2010, DePinto jumpstarted the company's
ability to introduce new products, especially in private
label and fresh food, which remain key focuses today,
according to Delgado-Jenkins.

DePinto's Six
Consumer Trends
to Watch
1. Consumers are connected 24/7.
2. They're on the go.
3. They're time starved.
4. They're eating differently.
5. They're more diverse.
6. They're more urbanized.

"We continue to innovate with fresh food. We start
with the customer - What's the right taste? How
do they want to eat it? How do we deliver it? We've
improved the quality for indulgent products, as well as
healthier products. We've grown foodservice sales by
mid-single digits for the last four years by improving
the quality, taste and packaging from the customer's
point-of-view," he shared. "In private label, we've had
double-digit same-store sales growth for the past four
years, and I believe we can do even better."
Jim Dinkins, incoming president of Coca-Cola
North America and current president of the Minute
Maid business unit, echoes that DePinto led the charge
to fresh food. "He saw that consumer preferences
were changing, that people were becoming more timestarved and that convenience was the sweet spot to
meet those changing preferences," Dinkins said. "He
leveraged the strength and breadth of 7-Eleven's geographic footprint to meet consumers' needs."
Dinkins, who started working with DePinto seven

40 Convenience Store News | DECEMBER 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

There's a lot of talk in retail lately about the need for constant innovation, especially with Amazon going after the
consumer packaged goods business and opening brick-andmortar stores, but 7-Eleven Inc. CEO Joseph DePinto doesn't
see Amazon as competition.
DePinto prefers to think of Amazon as "co-opetition," a
term he created. "We can cooperate with them. We have
something they want - great distribution points in our
stores," he said.
The chief executive recently visited an Amazon distribution
center and saw for himself what all the buzz is about. "They
have robots everywhere," he noted.
Even though he sees Amazon as more of an opportunity than a threat, DePinto does not advise his fellow
convenience store retailers to take their sights off Amazon
because if there's a consumer need not being met, Amazon
is going to solve for it.
"We can't be asleep at the wheel," he said.
7-Eleven's chief also believes the convenience store
industry must keep its sights on direct competitors such as
drugstores, dollar stores and quick-service restaurants.
"Millennials want an on-the-go, one-stop shop, and small
boxes like dollar and drug can offer more items than we
can," DePinto said, pointing out that 7-Eleven is protecting
its business by implementing an "expanded assortment
strategy" at its stores.
One disadvantage these competitors have vs. convenience stores is bigger lots that make it less convenient
to quickly get in and out, according to DePinto. Another
strength he says c-stores have going in their favor is that
they are deeply embedded in neighborhoods.
"Community is built into the fabric of the convenience
store industry," he said. "We've been there for them for a
long time and they've come to count of us. We're trusted,
while being close and convenient."
Convenience store disadvantages, DePinto believes, are an
inefficient supply chain - the channel is still a direct-store-delivery driven business - and pricing disparities vs. competitors.
"Pricing between channels is still unfair. Across many
categories, the convenience channel faces higher costs than
grocery and mass. The idea that convenience can demand
a premium is no longer valid. Consumers won't accept that
anymore," he said.
Going forward, DePinto expects competition to keep
increasing, particularly from new "small boxes," although he
acknowledges it's not an easy transition for many retailers.
"They're failing because they're doing business the same
way just in a smaller box. Big box vs. small box is a whole
different competency," he said, but acknowledged that companies like Aldi and Lidl have "figured out how to do it well."


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Convenience Store News - December 2017

Contents
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover1
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 3
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Contents
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 7
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