Posted by James Campos on Jan 07, 2012
Today is no ordinary Monday — it’s 7/11, the unofficial birthday of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain and Free Slurpee Day.
The largest chain of convenience stores, with over 40,000 locations worldwide, 7-Eleven will be giving out 5 million free, 7.11-ounce servings of its famed Slurpees all day long. Droves of Slurpee devotees and newcomers are expected to flood stores, filling their cups with the flavor of their choice then happily skipping the checkout line on their way out.
So will giving out free Slurpees hurt 7-Eleven’s sales? The statistics say no. Last year, Slurpee sales increased 38 percent on Free Slurpee Day. “Even without the 5 million free Slurpee drinks, July is the biggest month of the year for Slurpee sales,” said Jesus Delgado, senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics.
But not all franchisees, who run over half of 7-Eleven’s 8,000 stores in North America, seem as excited about Free Slurpee Day as the franchisor and customers are.
“Business is gone,” said Raj Gopal, the store manager at the 7-Eleven near Union Square in New York. “It’s totally down today. When [customers] are getting something free, they don’t want to spend any more.”
Gopal noted that although his store looked busy, it wasn’t. In fact, of the approximately 30 people who came in and out of the store within about 15 minutes, free Slurpee in hand, only two actually stopped at the checkout to make an additional purchase.