Look out Israel – the ‘Brain Freeze’ and other 7-Eleven delights are coming to a corner near you

The company could become “a formidable player in the field of food retailing that may produce the change that the market is thirsty for,” Calcalist reported.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

When the going gets hot, millions of people around the world quench their thirst with the iconic Slurpee, Big Gulp, or the aptly named “Brain Freeze” at tens of thousands of local 7-Eleven convenience stores that are now on the verge of expanding to Israel, the business news website Calcalist reported Monday.

Israelis could soon be getting relief from the scorching Middle East summers as the first 7-Eleven convenience stores will be offering their giant cold drinks along with products people grab on the go including packaged food, fast food, and those household items you seem to run out of at the last minute.

Israeli electronics retail chain Electra Consumer Products is teaming up with the owners of Israel’s FOX retail clothing and housewares chain in what is expected to be a 50-50 partnership that will eventually see up to 400 7-Eleven stores across Israel.

The company is expected to become “a formidable player in the field of food retailing that may produce the change that the market is thirsty for,” Calcalist reported.

Electra is in the final stages of acquiring the Bitan supermarket chain and that deal, along with the contract for the rights to 7-Eleven, are expected to be signed in the coming days.

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, 7‑Eleven says it operates more than 73,000 stores in 17 countries and regions, including 12,000 in North America. Israel won’t be its first foray into the region, as 7-Eleven already has franchises in the United Arab Emirates.

Electra is counting on brand awareness from the millions of Israelis who travel abroad annually and may already be familiar with 7-Eleven stores.

The expected size of the stores is estimated at 50-100 square meters, similar to existing kiosks and convenience stores in Israel, but Electra will not put branches into shopping malls and will concentrate on converting existing kiosks and opening stores in 3,000-6,000-square-meter neighborhood shopping centers, employment areas, city centers and office buildings.

Still up in the air is the issue of whether or not the stores will stay open on Shabbat and compete for market share against existing chains in Israel like the AM/PM chain. Electra still has to close the partnership with the Fox Group, which focuses mostly on shoes and clothing, holding the Israeli rights to major brands like Nike and American Eagle Outfitters.

Electra is expected to take advantage of its size advantage in the areas of purchasing in order to keep its costs down, as the company today already imports about 8,000 containers of goods each year.

Israel’s established convenience store arena is already competitive and 7-Eleven will be up against AM/PM with 52 branches, about 80 Express stores of the Shufersal supermarket chain, as well as gas stations like Paz, Sonol and Delek that over the past decade have all introduced convenience stores next to the gas pumps.

It’s not known yet if Electra plans to open 7-Eleven stores that are also gas stations, which account for some 20% of existing 7-Eleven outlets.

Calcalist noted that the coronavirus pandemic increased the demand in Israel for small food stores in city centers, with the increasing competition there expected to make it difficult for the 7-Eleven network to find locations.

Then again, no one offers the “Brain Freeze.” 7-Eleven sells over 14 million of the drinks a month worldwide.