Alimentation Couche-Tard Picks Up Big Red Stores

The large-format stores feature ample space for enhanced foodservice and product offerings.
Logos for Couche-Tard's retail brands and Big Red Stores

LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. will acquire 45 fuel and convenience retail sites from Big Red Stores, based in Bryant, Ark., under a binding purchase agreement.

All 45 sites are company-owned and -operated. Real estate is owned for 44 sites and leased for one. The network predominately features large format stores that have ample space for enhanced foodservice and product offerings, according to the announcement.

Arkansas natives Doug and David Hendrix founded Big Red Stores in 1997. Over the years, the company has grown primarily through organic growth.

"We are very pleased to add Big Red Stores' high-quality locations to our footprint in the state of Arkansas. Doug and David built an exceptional network of stores and people, and we believe our values are congruent with the culture they've spent a quarter-century building. We are honored to be stewards of their legacy," said Alex Miller, chief operating officer at Couche-Tard. "As we expand our presence in the area, we look forward to bringing the Circle K experience to new customers and making their lives a little easier every day."

The transaction is expected to close during the first half of calendar year 2023, subject to standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions. The deal will be financed using Couche-Tard's available cash and/or existing credit facilities.

Couche-Tard previously discussed growing its network through new construction but also made periodic acquisitions to convert to its Circle K banner. The company also recently acquired True Blue Car Wash LLC, which operated express tunnel car wash sites under the Clean Freak and Rainstorm brands, as Convenience Store News reported.

Laval-based Alimentation Couche-Tard operates in 24 countries and territories with more than 14,300 stores, of which approximately 10,900 offer road transportation fuel. With its well-known Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, it is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States, and it is a leader in the convenience store industry and road transportation fuel retail in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics, as well as in Ireland.