Bodegas hesitate to fight 7-Eleven expansion

7-Eleven’s New York City expansion has rapidly accelerated over the past four years. But bodegas, the beloved local institutions most threatened by the Dallas-based chain’s expansion, have done little to push back against the trend.

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The chain has grown by 72 percent in New York City since 2008, and now counts about 100 stores in the five boroughs — making it the city’s 15th largest chain, according to Center for an Urban Future data cited by the Wall Street Journal. 7-Eleven plans to open 30 new outlets over the next five years. And though nearby bodegas have claimed declining sales as a result of 7-Elevens, national organizations representing those businesses seem unconcerned.

The chain pitches bodega owners on the advantages of converting their business into a franchise — including business consultations, inventory tracking and availability of better data — and the Bodega Association of the U.S. said it doesn’t support local shops at the chain’s expense. Similarly, the National Bodega Federation said it was unconcerned with the trend because 7-Eleven doesn’t offer the local market products, such as specialty ethnic foods, that bodegas do. But the Journal noted that 7-Eleven is increasingly looking to diversify its inventory as it expands into the city, posing an even greater threat to bodegas. [WSJ]Adam Fusfeld