Friday, October 9, 2009

GO West young man GO West for food opportunities

Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD) is based in Montreal, CA and is now North America's second-largest convenience store chain. With a network of close to 5,444 stores, the company operates under a number of names including Couche-Tard in Quebec, Mac's and Becker's in other Canadian provinces, and Circle K in the United States. ATD repoted sales of $15.8 billion in fiscal 2009. With a portfolio of units all of which sell food including 80 franchise units of Boston based Dunkin’Donuts.

ATD is on the hunt to grow via acquisition and intends to double it’s number of outlets in Canada and the US over the next couple of years. The obvious target is the western and southern US where the convenience store business is highly fragmented and years behind ATD in operational and product innovation. More important that region is woefully lacking in grocerant prepared foods.

With the Northeastern US filled with quality players like, Rutters, Quickchek, Wawa and Sheetz it will be interesting too see if any of these strong regional players will step up and build a niche out west. I hope so.

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