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Luxury Goods Company Seeks the Riches of C-store Business


DURHAM, N.C. — There is a new player in the convenience store industry and it's looking to make a big impression over the next year.

The Guess Corp., through a subsidiary, is seeking to acquire at least 1,000 convenience store/gas station units over the next 12 months. Its plans call for the acquisition of an average of 100 units per month, which may include branded and unbranded units. 

After completing the acquisitions, the company intends to rebrand and renovate the properties, and provide enhanced customer relationship management technology.

Based in Durham, The Guess Corp. is a privately held conglomerate that began as a luxury goods holding company in 2012, with a focus on diamonds. It has since expanded into other business areas, including wine, lumber and automotive. 

While this is The Guess Corp.'s first foray into the convenience channel, a company spokesperson told CSNews Online that it is a diversified organization that looks to identify opportunities in which it is able "to bring commitment to excellence and upscale opportunities to an industry." 

"We believe that going to a gas station or c-store does not have to be a mediocre experience. Part of our rebranding strategy will be increasing the size of existing operations, complete renovations and getting rid of the gas smell through scent technologies so that the stores are actually refreshing. We will bring boutique style to the c-store/gas station industry," the spokesperson said. 

The Guess Corp. wants to acquire small and large chains; it is not interested in single-store operations.

"We are a Southeastern-based company, but we will pursue opportunities anywhere in the [United States]. Our main concern is that the market must have multiple acquisition and expansion opportunities," the spokesperson added.

In all, the company intends to spend more than $1 billion for acquisitions over the course of 12 months and approximately $250 million for extensive rebranding, renovations and technology upgrades.

The convenience stores will be operated by the company's petroleum subsidiary.

"In order to ensure our plan is executed properly, we will not franchise the locations. They will all be operated by our petroleum subsidiary, but we will appoint managing partners which will be employees who receive a salary and small equity position in each location to provide an added incentive to do well. Within 24 months, we would spin the petroleum unit off as a publicly traded company," the spokesperson told CSNews Online.

In one of the first steps to meeting its goal, The Guess Corp. has invited brokers to provide buyer representation, with higher commissions to ensure the acquisition program is completed in a timely fashion.

According to the company, a minimum of five units in an area is required for it to consider a purchase. In most instances, the company will pay full asking price for the units as a package, with payouts over a 30-day period. 

The company will consider units with or without real estate as part of a deal, and will offer sellers a fast due-diligence and closing process. It is able to close a transaction within 72 hours.

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