7-Eleven Debuts Own Wines

Seven & i holds global launch of two Yosemite Road varietals

Published in CSP Daily News

DALLAS -- In its first foray into global merchandising, 7-Eleven Inc. in the United States and Seven-Eleven Japan (SEJ) are jointly introducing two proprietary winesa Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignonunder the Yosemite Road label. These varietals are California wines produced by The Wine Group exclusively for 7-Eleven stores and its parent company, Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. of Tokyo.

Also participating in the launch and carrying the new beverages are Ito-Yokado supermarkets and hypermarkets, York Benimaru supermarkets in northern Japan, Shell Garden upscale grocery [image-nocss] stores, Denny's family restaurants, Seibu and Sogo department stores, retail outlets that, along with SEI and SEJ, are subsidiaries of Seven & i, a $57.6 billion corporation. Seven & i has annual wines sales of $127 million, and SEI's yearly wine sales are $46 million.

After researching the most frequently purchased products at their stores, the merchandising counterparts under the Seven & i umbrella selected wine to inaugurate its global product development and procurement plan. Value-priced wines, those under $5, have been gaining in popularity and enjoying double-digit sales growth at 7-Eleven stores as consumers continue to search for value in their purchasing decisions.

Available in the companies' collective 15,000 convenience, department and grocery stores, the introduction of the two California wines is the culmination of a collaborative, global merchandising effort for the world's largest convenience retailer. The same-day launch marks the first global product designed and developed exclusively for Seven & i stores.

Suggested retail price for a standard 750 milliliter bottle is $3.99 in the United States ($4.99 in Florida because of state taxes) and 598 yen in Japan.

"The development and production of Yosemite Road wines was a global team effort and is just the beginning," said Kevin Elliott, 7-Eleven senior vice president of merchandising and logistics. "By using our collective purchasing power to negotiate product exclusivity and pricing, we can meet customer demand for quality and value, as well as differentiate our brand from the competition."

The around-the-world venture began in earnest this year with a series of video conferences followed by multiple trips to California's wine country. Leveraging its scale and sourcing capabilities, 7-Eleven approached The Wine Group, the world's third-largest wine producer, with the mission to craft two quality, affordably priced varietal wines.

Experienced, award-winning wine-makers John Willumson and Jim McDonald were tapped for the task. The winning vintners created a Chardonnay, described as fresh and zesty with notes of apricot, peach and honey, and a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with juicy plum overtones. Both are well balanced, offered at an affordable price and can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

Yosemite Road is currently a limited-edition wine that will be available while supplies last.

7 Eleven, Dallas, operates, franchises or licenses some 7,850 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 36,600 stores in 15 countries. During 2008, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $53.7 billion.