NACS Recognizes Convenience Store Retailers in Europe

Daybreak Portumna is winner of the coveted NACS European Convenience Retailer of the Year Award.

DUBLIN, Ireland — Three European convenience store retailers were honored as part of the annual NACS Convenience Summit Europe, which took place May 30-June 1 in Dublin.

This year's honorees were NACS European Convenience Retailer of the Year Award winner Daybreak Portumna, NACS European Convenience Retail Technology Award winner Circle K Norway and NACS European Convenience Retail Sustainability Award winner E-Fuel GmbH.

Daybreak Portumna

Launched in 2006, Daybreak stores are independently owned by local retailers who understand and respond to the needs of their communities. Daybreak is operated by Musgrave Wholesale Partners and currently has more than 300 locations in Ireland. Daybreak Portumna was named Best Food To Go/Deli at the 2022-2023 Daybreak Store of the Year Awards.


Located on the main Loughrea Road into Portumna, a rural town in County Galway with a population of 1,500, Daybreak Portumna is operated by Mark and Anne Finn. The store was rebuilt in 2019 and reopened in September 2022 to expand its extensive foodservice offer and seating area.

Judges agreed that Daybreak Portumna is a world-class example of a convenience retail destination that emphasizes the importance of creating a fresh and gourmet foodservice and shopping experience, according to NACS.

Daybreak's food offer is freshly prepared onsite daily. The store's Munch & Co. brand is a twist on the traditional Irish deli, featuring favorites that are enhanced with high-quality ingredients and unique flavors, including gourmet sandwiches and wraps, penne pasta pots and salad bowls, the association said.

The 9 Grams coffee program, an exclusive coffee brand developed for Daybreak, features two self-service bean-to-cup machines that brew espresso, americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, flat whites and hot chocolate. LicketySplit ice cream, also exclusive to Daybreak, has a brand identity that is brought to life with a visually impactful fixture and product that appeals to children and adults alike.

The convenience store portion of the store emphasizes "Big Night In," which positions the store as the convenient stop for confections, such as large bars and multipacks, sharing crisps and soft drinks in multipacks and sharing sizes. "Big Night In" branding is a nod to traditional cinema signs and suggests bringing the movie night experience into the home. 

Daybreak Portumna is also leveraging technology that brings efficiencies to its day-to-day operations, such as a back-office data analytics solution that highlights sales and margin gaps, the performance of pricing and promotion campaigns, and tracks and compares shelf price to competitor stores. The store also uses electronic shelf label to quickly adjust price, and energy efficient refrigeration and LED lights to help reduce energy consumption.

"Daybreak Portumna, the 2023 NACS European Convenience Retailer of the Year Award winner, is another great example of why Ireland is at the global epicenter of fresh convenience food," said Henry O. Armour, NACS president and CEO.

The coveted NACS European Convenience Retailer of the Year Award was sponsored by Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS).

"DFS is proud to sponsor and present Daybreak Portumna with the NACS European Convenience Retailer of the Year Award," said Manwinder Toor, senior director, global key accounts at DFS. "How Daybreak delivers fresh, gourmet food service and infuses technology to improve business operations, customer and employee experience make it a world-class convenience retail destination deserving of the distinction."

Circle K Norway

Norway is the only country that has more electric vehicles (EV) per person, and Circle K has become one of the country's most aggressive developers of fast charging EV networks. The company has so far prioritized building its own chargers at Circle K stations in cities and along Norwegian roads, with more than 100 stations with chargers, and approximately 800 chargers at its own stations.

Circle K logo

Through the Circle K Charge app, drivers access an overview of Circle K's charging stations and available chargers. Customers can also follow the charging process and see a full overview of charging time, price and battery status. Circle K's charging offer is not limited to its service stations and convenience stores, but customers can also charge at home. Circle K sells one of Norway's popular at-home chargers manufactured by Easee.

Circle K is owned by Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., a global convenience retailer with more than 14,000 locations in 24 countries and territories. Norway is Circle K's test market for electrification and the evolution of convenience retail as energy stations.

In 2022, four in five cars sold in Norway were electric. The country has become a global model for electrification, thanks to favorable tax policies and a government mandate to reach 100 percent zero-emission car sales by 2025.

"Norway leads the world in automobile electrification and Circle K has absolutely shown that convenience stores will still be relevant to customers with EVs," said Armour.

[Read more: Couche-Tard CEO Talks Electric Cars & Fuels Future]

Additionally, in Norway, Circle K launched a car wash subscription program accessible through the retailer's mobile app. Customers can locate the nearest station that offers the car wash subscription, which allows for a maximum of eight washes every 30 days and a maximum of two washes per day.

In 2021, Circle K Europe won the NACS European Convenience Retail Technology Award for its Pay by Plate payment technology used for fuel purchases. Circle K was the first fuel retailer to introduce Pay by Plate across Europe at scale, allowing customers to pay for fuel using their number (license) plate for a frictionless customer experience.

The NACS European Convenience Retail Technology Award was sponsored by Gilbarco Veeder-Root.

"We are proud to be the sponsor of the NACS European Convenience Retail Technology Award and it is exciting to see the award go to Circle K Norway, who has been an industry leader in driving the retail forecourt of the future, leveraging technology, and building partnerships to enhance the experience for its customers," said Trevor Sinkinson, managing director at Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Europe. 

E-Fuel GmbH

As a joint venture of 10 medium-sized German petrol station operators and energy traders, eFuel GmbH aims to make a decisive contribution to the future-oriented and climate-neutral realignment of business models. It focuses on the production of e-fuels, electricity-based synthetic fuels that are produced from renewable energies such as solar power, wind power or hydropower. Because the burning of e-fuels releases just as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as was extracted from the air during production, these synthetic fuels are CO2-neutral if the electricity is produced from renewable energies.

e-fuel gmbh

E-fuels are increasingly seen as a global alternative to electric vehicles, which until now have been the only option for achieving the decarbonization objectives set by countries throughout Europe.

The NACS Convenience Retail Sustainability Award recognizes a retail company that has pursued a significant and compelling sustainability initiative that creates positive social outcomes and produces lasting value for customers, employees and the convenience retail industry. The judges agreed that eFuel GmbH's innovative joint strategy can have a big impact on CO2 sustainability. 

"By investing as a group to drive CO2 neutral fuels, these companies have developed something that they couldn't have done or achieved individually," said Armour. "The award recognizes how smaller businesses in our industry can collectively work together to achieve or even exceed the efforts or larger organizations on their CO2 reduction journey." 

The NACS European Convenience Retail Sustainability Award was sponsored by The Coca-Cola Co. 

The NACS Convenience Summit Europe is a global event where retailers gather each year to gain and share knowledge on strategic industry issues, while taking a deep dive into how these core, retail-centric themes will impact the industry today and in the future. The conference is held each year in a different European city and is hosted by Alexandria-based NACS.

NACS is the leading global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing. It advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve and is a trusted adviser to its retailer and supplier members from more than 50 countries.