Two-thousand-fifteen blew up.
Record profits, low gas prices and, most important for the purpose of ranking chains by store count, convenience multiples made running c-stores—and apparently selling or buying them—all the rage.
An improving economy, more cash in consumers’ pockets and tax advantages propelling master limited partnerships (MLPs) shook up much of the middle and lower half of CSP’s list of Top 101 convenience chains.
The absorption of high-profile names such as The Pantry, Tedeschi Food Shops and Flash Foods (not final as of press time) made headlines, but retailers struck a number of smaller deals as a way to grow, merge and prune their new entities on the path to greatness.
That greatness may be an important aspiration: Pressures of scale force everyone, from the major consolidators to the mom-and-pops, to get better at what they do. Across the board, chains of various sizes are improving their business on numerous fronts. Kwik Chek, Austin, Texas, is developing a high-tech loyalty program; Sheetz, Altoona, Pa., recently launched a new specialty-coffee program; and Rutter’s Farm Stores, York, Pa., recently opened a 9,100-square-foot prototype.
The value of today’s c-stores has never been higher. For some, that means sell. For others, it’s buy. For the remainder, it’s greatness.
Click here to view the Top 101 list.
And what might that mean for c-stores?