The C-store Growth Chain of the Decade Is…

Casey’s General Stores has made Convenience Store News’ Top 20 Growth Chains list every year.
Don Longo
Editorial Director Emeritus

There are many different ways to measure a company’s growth. You can calculate a public company’s revenue gains, increase in operating income, stock price or market capitalization.

Since the majority of retailers in the convenience store industry are privately held, Convenience Store News decided 10 years ago to identify the fastest-growing c-store retailers by net store-count increase per year. Starting in 2012, CSNews, with the help of data from Nielsen’s TDLinx database, has spotlighted the Top 20 Growth Chains every year.

Using net store-count growth may not be perfect, but judging by the retailers that continuously make the list year after year, there is no denying that our Top 20 Growth Chains list features many of the most impressive performers in the industry.

Sheetz, Love’s, Murphy USA, QuikTrip and Wawa made the Top 20 Growth Chains list nine out of the past 10 years. 7-Eleven, Kwik Trip and Pilot have also been fixtures, making the list eight times in the past decade. And other admirable retailers like Alimentation Couche-Tard, Marathon Petroleum/Speedway, Sunoco, RaceTrac Petroleum, Maverik and GPM Investments have been regulars, achieving top 20 rankings at least six times or more over the past 10 years.

Some of these retailers have increased their store count through huge acquisitions, others through a series of targeted midsized mergers, while others have focused on organic new store growth. Still others used a combination of both acquisitions and organic growth.

Casey’s General Stores is the only chain that made the Top 20 Growth Chains list in each of the past 10 years. It’s been quite a run for the fourth-largest convenience store retailer in the country. While the Ankeny, Iowa-based chain has made some small and midsized acquisitions, it is not known to be one of the industry consolidators, growing mostly organically over the past 10 years.

While increasing its store count and footprint across the nation, Casey’s has achieved double-digit earnings growth for most of the decade. Its digital strategy has propelled it to the vanguard of the industry’s push into loyalty programs and contactless delivery.

The company has also brought on a group of talented executives to blend with its core of longtime leaders, assembling one of the industry’s most diversified and effective leadership teams. 

As for future growth prospects, 2,000 of Casey’s 2,200 stores are located in just nine of the 16 states in which it operates. So, there’s plenty of room for the retailer to grow within its current footprint.

Congrats to Casey’s — our Growth Chain of the Decade.

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