NATIONAL REPORT — Retailers' acquisitions, store updates and plans for the rest of the year were among the top headlines last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of January, based on reader views:
1) Wawa Celebrates Opening of Its First Drive-Thru Only Store
Located at 549 W. Trenton Ave. in Morrisville, Pa., the store offers extra convenience and focuses on fresh food while retaining key Wawa design elements such as its trademarked canopy, according to Pennsylvania-based retailer.
2) Despite Pandemic, Nearly Six in 10 C-store Retailers Say In-Store Sales Grew in 2020
Convenience stores saw fuel sales and commuter traffic dip during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, a majority of retailers did see in-store sales grow. According to the latest NACS Retailer Member Pulse Survey, 59 percent of U.S. c-store owners reported an in-store sales increase, compared to 30 percent who reported a decrease.
3) Couche-Tard Initiates Talks to Buy French Retailer Carrefour
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. began exploring a takeover of French grocer Carrefour SA in a roughly $20-billion deal that would have created a trans-Atlantic retail giant. Couche-Tard, owner of the Circle K convenience store chain, later dropped the bid following opposition from the French government.
4) Shareholder Pushes for Delek US to Sell Its C-store Business
On Jan. 14, CVR Energy Inc. sent a letter to Delek US Chairman Uzi Yemin urging the Brentwood-based company to make several changes, including selling its c-stores, and ceasing operations at the Krotz Springs and El Dorado refineries and convert them to terminals, renewable diesel production or for other purposes. CVR Energy is majority-owned subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises LP and holds approximately 15 percent of the outstanding common stock of Delek US.
5) 7-Eleven Inc. Begins Makeover of Acquired 7-Eleven of Oklahoma Stores
Ten months after taking ownership of more than 100 convenience stores in the metro area, 7-Eleven Inc. launched a refresh initiative. The company is giving at least 30 of those c-stores a makeover that includes changes to their offerings as well as their look.
6) Casey's Launches More Than 100 New Private-Brand Snacks & Drinks
Casey's General Stores Inc. is ringing in the new year with an update to its store shelves to include 100-plus new low-price, high-quality snack and beverage products under the Casey's private brand. Complementary to Casey's updated offerings in water, automotive needs and its recently debuted packaged beverage and packaged bakery items, the broadened assortment of Casey's private brand products encompasses new snack categories, including chips, jerky and nuts.
7) Convenience Distributors Find Some Sales Growth Amidst Pandemic
The nation's top wholesale distributors to the convenience store industry saw average sales increase a little more than 2 percent in 2020 despite the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic. McLane Co. Inc., Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. and Eby-Brown Co. once again grabbed the top three spots on Convenience Store News' annual ranking of the largest wholesalers to the convenience channel.
8) Joint Venture Entity Buys Alta Convenience
Pester Marketing Co., which does business as Alta Convenience, sold to a joint venture entity between Fortress Investment Group LLC and a subsidiary of Phillips 66 Co. Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. advised Denver-based Pester Marketing in the transaction.
9) TravelCenters of America Wraps Up Record Year of Franchise Signings
TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA) delivered on its commitment to expand its footprint nationwide through franchising with a record number of signings. In 2020, the company signed 21 franchise agreements and opened 10 new franchise locations. The first TA travel center of 2021 is set to open Jan. 12 in Huntington, Ore., located on Interstate 84 at exit 353.
10) Love's Details 2021 Growth Plans
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores has an ambitious growth plan for 2021 that includes the opening of up to 50 travel stops and the addition of more than 3,000 truck parking spots and 3,000 jobs. The plan expands on the travel stop operator's 2020 growth, which included 38 new locations and more than 3,000 truck parking spaces.