NATIONAL REPORT — Expanded footprints, new locations and product strategy were important topics to Convenience Store News readers last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of November, based on reader views:
1) EG Group Moving U.S. Headquarters to Cumberland Farms Facility
The United Kingdom-based company — which entered the U.S. in April 2018 when it acquired The Kroger Co.'s portfolio of 760 convenience stores — will be moving its U.S. headquarters from Cincinnati to Westborough, Mass., home of Cumberland Farms' office and warehouse facility. The move will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.
2) Philip Morris USA Prepares to Bring IQOS to Second Lead Market
Philip Morris USA, an operating company of Altria Group Inc., is expanding IQOS to its hometown of Richmond, Va. A new IQOS store will open in the Carytown district of the city, according to Altria Chairman and CEO Howard Willard. Altria has "a sizable employee base enrichment and deep connections with the [Richmond] community that could accelerate early adoption of IQOS," he explained during the company's third-quarter 2019 earnings call on Oct. 31.
3) Kum & Go Makes Major Push Into Denver With 13 New C-stores
All 13 are set to open in 12 months — starting with the four that have welcomed customers since August, according to the convenience retailer. With the new stores, Kum & Go will have 75 locations in Colorado along the I-25 and I-70 corridors stretching from Wellington to Fountain and throughout the Western Slope.
4) Casey's Chooses Missouri for New Distribution Center
The convenience store retailer chose Joplin for its new warehouse, logistics and distribution center. The facility will initially serve roughly 400 to 600 Casey's locations, according to the company. "Joplin is an ideal location for Casey's third distribution center due to its geography and ability to serve our growing market areas. We appreciate the support from the State of Missouri and City of Joplin, and look forward to sharing more details in the future," said Ed Vaske, vice president of transportation and distribution, Casey's General Stores.
5) Altria Remains Committed to Alternative Tobacco Products
Despite some challenges facing alternative tobacco products today, Altria Group Inc. remains committed to its harm reduction journey. "We are in the midst of a remarkable transformation within the tobacco industry. Once predictable, the industry has become increasingly dynamic and complex and while this evolution may pose short-term challenges, we believe tobacco harm reduction is a significant opportunity for the industry and adult tobacco consumers," Altria Chairman and CEO Howard Willard said during the company's third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 31.
6) Kwik Trip Partners With Wisconsin Brewery on Doughnut-Inspired Beer
Glazer Bean is a chocolate coffee stout made with cold brew coffee, liquid cacao and lactose, and is made by Karben4 Brewing. Despite videos on Kwik Trip's social media platforms, no doughnuts were used in the beer. "It's not a dessert beer or a pastry stout," said brewmaster Ryan Koga, adding that the cold brew is steeped in the beer for a day or two and then added back to the bright tank.
7) Speedway's Andeavor Store Conversions Across the U.S. Top 500
The Speedway banner continues to spread across the United States. In the year since combining with Andeavor, Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) has been working with its retail arm, Speedway LLC, to convert Andeavor's locations to the Speedway brand. To date, approximately 550 sites have completed the transition, according to Don Templin, chief financial officer for MPC.
8) Couche-Tard Sells CrossAmerica to Company Founder
Couche-Tard reached the deal with investment entities controlled by Joe Topper, the founder of Allentown, Pa.-based CrossAmerica. Topper is a current member of the board directors of CrossAmerica's general partner. The CrossAmerica interests sold consist of 100 percent of the general partner interest, 100 percent of the incentive distribution rights and approximately 7.5 million CrossAmerica limited partner units. The transaction's price tag was not disclosed.
9) Kum & Go's Test-and-Learn With Mars Wrigley to Kick Off in February 2020
The custom test-and-learn for Kum & Go will offer new insight-driven merchandising solutions rooted in Mars Wrigley's deep research on shopping behavior globally and understanding of the current retail landscape, the company said. The results of the program will be used to refine Mars Wrigley's recommendations to support customer engagement and propel in-store and in-aisle growth.
10) Coca-Cola Unveils New Tool to Help C-store Retailers Drive Shopper Conversion & Sales
The Coca-Cola Co. aims to help convenience store retailers drive shopper conversion and sales with a new tool: beverage segmentation. This tool segments c-stores into clusters based on both store-level shopper data and store-level beverage demand data. Then, Coca-Cola mines store-level shopper and non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink beverage demand data and analyzes it using proprietary models with advanced techniques, such as machine learning.