NATIONAL REPORT — Expansion plans of large brands and the tobacco regulatory space were on people's minds at the end of 2023. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of December, based on reader views:
1) Alimentation Couche-Tard Charts a Mix of Growth Activity
In early November, the parent company of the global Circle K brand closed on its part of an acquisition that spilt up the assets of MAPCO. The deal added 112 sites to the company's network, accelerating its development in key markets. Couche-Tard also has a goal to build 500 new convenience stores over the next five years.
2) RaceTrac Will Mark 2024 With First Stores in South Carolina
RaceTrac plans to enter the South Carolina market with two new locations: an extended diesel offering store in Greenville and a travel center in St. George. Both stores will serve the needs of local small- to mid-size fleet drivers and construction vehicles with added high flow diesel canopies and DEF at the pump.
3) Three Snacking Trends to Watch in 2024
In the new year, consumers will feel the crunch more than before, leaving little to no time to prepare, eat and enjoy meals, according to the fifth annual "U.S. Snack Index" from Frito-Lay and Quaker. Key food and snacking trends include the time crunch dilemma; introducing the snack savant; and snacking for tasty satisfaction.
4) Casey's Ranks Among Retailers to Watch Next Year
The retailer is the only convenience store chain to appear on the 10 Retailers To Watch In 2024 list compiled by Store Brands, a sister publication to Convenience Store News. The annual ranking features a variety of companies that tackled expansion efforts, financial challenges, re-establishing of their footing in a highly competitive space and more.
5) RaceTrac Completes Gulf Oil Acquisition
The convenience retailer's wholly owned wholesale fuel supply and trading subsidiary, Metroplex Energy Inc., closed on its acquisition of Gulf Oil. The transaction, which made headlines in July 2023, received the appropriate regulatory approvals and all closing conditions have been satisfied, according to RaceTrac.
6) Convenience Store Operators Will Switch Up Beverage Space in 2024
Convenience store operators will be changing up their beverage merchandising in the coming months. According to Goldman Sachs' recent "Beverage Bytes" survey, retailers expect to make more shelf/cooler space changes for the total beverage category in their upcoming spring resets vs. prior years — giving more space for energy drinks.
7) Circle K Rewards Program Gains Steam
Just months after introducing a new rewards program, Circle K is seeing high adoption numbers. The Inner Circle membership program is "providing meaningful convenience and fuel rewards to our most valuable customers," said Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. President and CEO Brian Hannasch.
8) Haslam Family & Berkshire Hathaway Dispute Could Get January Court Date
The companies ultimately settled dueling lawsuits over accounting practices related to the acquisition of the Pilot Flying J brand one day before a trial was set to begin.
9) Juul Labs Seeks FDA Approval for Age-Verified Menthol Vapor Product
The company submitted a premarket tobacco product application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a next-generation platform device and menthol-flavored pods that require user age verification — among the first fully age-gated electronic nicotine delivery system products to be submitted to FDA for review, according to the company.
10) Biden Administration Expected to Delay Federal Menthol Ban
A proposed menthol ban could be on hold after fierce opposition from a variety of fronts, including trade groups and critics who believe a ban could harm President Joe Biden's popularity with some Black smokers ahead of an election year.