Canadian Convenience King Buying Into US Market

Discussion
Sep 25, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Alimentation Couche-Tard, Canada’s largest convenience store operator, plans to purchase more than 200 stores in the US before the end of the year, reports Reuters.

The company’s top executive, Alain Bouchard said, “We can easily buy three, four or five hundred stores,” he said. “It could be an investment in the range of C$500 million to
C$600 million ($370 million to $445 million).”

Mr. Bouchard ruled out White Hen Pantry as an acquisition target but was noncommittal on a possible deal with ConocoPhillips to purchase any of the approximately 2000 Circle
K stores up for sale.

Moderator’s Comment: What impact will Couche-Tard have on US convenience store retailing? What differentiates this company from its competitors?

Couche-Tard is the seventh largest convenience store operator in North America and is highly regarded for its ability to maintain margins roughly twice
those of larger competitors such as 7-Eleven. The chain is focusing heavily on branded foodservice to keep margins high in light of market pressure on gasoline and cigarettes.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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