The first week back after the holidays is sometimes a slow one. Everyone is just getting back into their regular routine, shifting their brains away from parties and presents. It also tends to be a slow week for company announcements and food industry news. However, this year seems to be different, especially among convenience stores, who have been particularly busy the past few days.
A few days after Christmas, Big Y Foods released a statement saying it is expanding its Big Y Express Gas and Convenience concept with an agreement to acquire the operating assets of three O’Connell Convenience Plus Stations in Massachusetts. It plans to switch the stores over to the Big Y Express banner is the winter months. Then, right before the new year, Circle K Stores Inc. purchased 62 stores from Greatstone Equities Inc. in Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Washington. This is the fifth large acquisition Circle K's parent company, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., was involved with in 2015.
After the holiday season was officially over, convenience stores picked up their activity even more. Gordy's Market and Mega Co-op entered into a partnership in which Gordy's will buy three Mega Co-op grocery stores in Wisconsin and Gordy’s will sell its Express convenience stores and fuel centers to Mega, which will become Mega Holiday gas stations. They also plan to collaborate on future new locations and joint programs, like their fuel rewards.
Moving on to the middle of the week (Jan. 6 to be exact), three more companies released information about acquisitions and expansions. CrossAmerica Partners LP entered into a definitive agreement to acquire thirty-one franchise Holiday stores from SSG Corporation for $48.5 million. Of the 31 company-operated stores, 28 are located in Wisconsin and 3 are located in Minnesota.
In the realm of expansions, Love's Travel Stops plans to open more than 40 new locations across 28 states in 2016, which is the most it has ever opened in one year. They are also partnering with three new restaurant chains, Dunkin' Donuts, IHOP Express and Taco John's, bringing Love’s total number of quick-service restaurant partners to 19. Additionally, CST Brands Inc. approved a potential real estate venture that will allow it to open 120 new store over the next two years and more than 350 new-to-industry stores in the next five years.
With so many big announcements so early in the year, it seems 2016 may be a big year for c-stores; as well as for the food industry as a whole.