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Industry Roundup: The Top 10 Most-Read Stories of March 2021

Multiple updates on major acquisitions and divestments captured CSNews readers' interest.
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NATIONAL REPORT — The top headlines in March included significant merger and acquisition activity, strategic moves, research on trends during the pandemic, and more. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of March, based on reader views:

1) Circle K Announces Sale of 350-Plus Stores in North America
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., parent company of the global c-store brand, tapped NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC to coordinate and manage the sale of 269 sites across 25 states in the United States and 37 sites across six provinces in Canada. Of 306 sites, 122 are fee-owned and 184 are leased, while 238 properties sell fuel and 68 are convenience only. The stores average roughly 2,600 square feet and sit on an average lot size of 29,500 square feet.

2) Teamsters Call on FTC to Pause 7-Eleven's Purchase of Speedway
In the request made on behalf of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' 1.4 million members, President James Hoffa asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to put the review on hold until either "legislation introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chairwoman on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, has been enacted; or the FTC is able to ensure that the legal and economic staffs have meaningfully taken into account the lack of efficiencies and the full range of competitive harms that the transaction may cause."

3) Marathon Petroleum Pushes Speedway Sale to Second Quarter of 2021
Industry watchers waiting for Speedway LLC to officially change hands will have to wait a little longer. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Marathon Petroleum Corp. is now pushing the timeline to early in the second quarter.

4) Couche-Tard Reaches New Milestones in Its 'Innovation Journey'  
Alimentation Couche-Tard will embark on the second implementation wave of its "Fresh Food, Fast" foodservice concept as part of its evolution into a more innovative and differentiated retailer, the company reported during its earnings call for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Having hit its target of 1,500 locations in the United States last fall, the second wave of implementation will expand the program to 3,000 more stores throughout North America during fiscal 2022.

5) 7-Eleven Unveils First Laredo Taco Co. Drive-Thru Restaurant
7-Eleven Inc. opened the first-ever Laredo Taco Co. drive-thru restaurant at its newest 7-Eleven Evolution store. Located at Park Lane and Abrams Road in Dallas, it is the third Evolution store in Dallas and the sixth in the United States. This also marks the first time 7-Eleven has operated a corporate-owned drive-thru restaurant at one of its stores.

6) Coca-Cola Research Finds Five Major Pandemic-Era Consumer Trends
More than a year after the coronavirus was introduced to the United States, the pandemic's impact on the retail industry is more apparent. The Coca-Cola Co. recently aggregated insights from a variety of studies to compose Coca-Cola Refreshing Insights: The State of the Consumer, Retail & FSOP, which identifies five major trends that have largely defined pandemic-era consumer behavior.

7) Global Partners Seizes on Opportunities to Grow Its Network
Global Partners LP entered 2021 with plans in place to expand its retail reach. The company is already bringing those plans to fruition, having recently reached agreements to add retail assets in the greater Philadelphia market, according to President and CEO Eric Slifka. The retail sites complement Global Partners' wholesale unbranded business, and position the company to grow its retail branded independent dealer business, Slifka said during the company's fourth-quarter 2020 earnings call, held March 5.

8) PHOTO GALLERY: Wally's Aims to Be the Ultimate Road Trip Destination
Wally's has a mission to completely reimagine what people associate with travel centers. While the industry has traditionally catered to the professional trucking community, Wally's opened in September 2020 with a family focus and the moniker: "Home of the Great American Road Trip."

9) Regulation & Legislation Continue to Shape the Tobacco Business
Tobacco regulation and legislation are under review constantly at the local, state and federal levels. During the recent 2021 Convenience Distribution Marketplace Virtual event, National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) Executive Director Tom Briant provided a "State of the Industry" update on current federal tobacco regulation and legislation, as well as an overview of local, state and federal tobacco issues.

10) Visa Under Investigation for Its Debit-Card Practices
The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly investigating whether Visa Inc. is limiting merchants' ability to route debit-card transactions over card networks that are often less expensive. Many of the department's questions have focused on online debit-card transactions, but investigators have asked about in-store issues as well, according to people familiar with the investigation.

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