Eight C-store Chains Rank Among Nation's Fastest-Growing Retailers

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The results of STORES Hot 100 Retailers are in and eight convenience store retailers have made the list this year.

Featured annually in the August issue of STORES Magazine and published by the National Retail Federation, the Hot 100 Retailers list consists of retail companies that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2011 and 2012. All public and private companies with more than $300 million in sales were eligible for the list, which was compiled by Kantar Retail.

Rankings are determined by increases in year-over-year domestic sales between 2011 and 2012. Here is how the eight c-store chains were ranked:

  • No. 24, Stripes LLC. Corpus Christi, Texas-based Stripes is owned by Susser Holdings Corp. Its retail sales from 2011 to 2012 totaled more than $1 billion, a 14.5-percent increase year over year. In 2012, Stripes operated 559 stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, a 3.3-percent increase from 2011.
  • No. 56, RaceTrac Petroleum Corp. Atlanta-based RaceTrac also saw more than $1 billion in retail sales in 2012, an 8.7-percent increase from 2011. Its total store count was 642, a 5.2-percent gain.
  • No. 57, QuikTrip Corp. Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip saw an 8.7-percent sales increase from 2011 to 2012, raking in $849 million. The chain also saw its store count increase by 9.8 percent to 639 locations.
  • No. 65, Cumberland Farms Inc. Cumberland Farms brought in $798 million in 2012 retail sales, a rise of 8 percent. The Framingham, Mass.-based c-store chain also saw its store count increase 5.4 percent to 972.
  • No. 73, 7-Eleven Inc. Dallas-based 7-Eleven achieved nearly $10.7 billion in U.S. retail sales in 2012, a 7.5-percent increase. It also saw its U.S. store count increase 6.3 percent to 7,672 units.
  • No. 74, Casey's General Stores Inc. Casey's reported more than $2 billion in 2012 retail sales, a 7.5-percent increase. Its store count in the same period grew by 3.2 percent to 1,754.
  • No. 82, VPS Convenience Store Group. Wilmington, N.C.- based VPS Convenience Store Group operates stores under six brand names -- Scotchman, Village Pantry, Li’L Cricket, Young's, Next Door Stores and Everyday Shops. The stores are spread throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Last year, the group saw its retail sales grow to $324 million, a 6.7-percent increase. Its store count also increased by 6.7 percent to 190 locations.
  • No. 89, Pilot Flying J. Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J brought in $694 million in retail sales in 2012, a 6.3-percent increase. Its store count also grew in the same period by 3 percent to 549.


Researchers from Kantar Retail concluded that the c-store chains are growing through “acquisition of smaller chains and independents, rapid organic store growth and big investments in store remodels, foodservice and private label merchandise.”

The analysis also delved into category sales and strategic reasons behind the c-store chains' success. For example, the researchers pointed out that Stripes has opened eight new stores so far this year and brought in Sid Keswani from Target Corp. to serve as its senior vice president of store operations. Meanwhile, 7-Eleven has plans to double its North American footprint over the next several years.

As CSNews previously reported, at the end of 2012, there were 149,220 convenience stores in the United States, accounting for a little more than a third of all retail stores in the country.

Kantar Retail is a retail insights and consulting business. The London-based company is part of Kantar Group of WPP and works with retailers and branded manufacturers to transform the purchase behavior of consumers, shoppers and retailers.

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