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Foodservice Helps Spark Investor Interest in C-stores

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The growing convenience store foodservice market is helping to attract investors and playing a part in recent deals.

The segment is credited with such acquisition transactions as Compañía de Petróleos de Chile Copec S.A.'s purchase of Delek U.S. Holdings' 348 c-store portfolio and Alimentation Couche-Tard's purchases of CST Brands and 53 c-stores in Louisiana, according to a CoStar Group report.

Sales at large-format c-stores surged during the first half of 2016 as Americans continue to embrace quick food options, with 70 percent of c-store retailers reporting that in-store sales were higher during this time period than during the same period last year, according to research by NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.

Additionally, 64 percent say they are confident in their ability to compete with quick-service restaurants.

"We still see all of the portfolios that are out there, we are selectively underwriting those and making a run at the properties that are in the portfolios that are most appealing to us," said Jay Whitehurst, president of REIT National Retail Properties. "We do love that real estate. We love that industry. It's done very well in our portfolio and we're excited to be able to look at portfolios there going forward."

The channel has also attracted newcomers such as Guess Corp., which is launching both the GP Express c-store chain and a hospitality venture, The Guess Bread Co., as CSNews Online previously reported.

Lower fuel prices that have prompted consumers to drive more have also boosted sales and attracted investor interest, according to the report.

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