Couche-Tard and 7-Eleven are the "most likely" buyers for Kroger's c-stores should they go up for sale, "but don't count out Casey's," Mandeville said.
Casey's General Stores Inc. has nearly 2,000 convenience stores in 15 states, most of them in the Midwest. The Ankeny, Iowa-based retailer has added a second distribution center in Terre Haute, Ind., in an effort to expand into more states, and it is considering a third facility.
“We’re certainly gearing ourselves up for future accelerated growth pace,” Terry Handley, Casey’s president and CEO, said during the company’s third-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings call.
And at the company's Investor Day presentation in July, Casey's "management indicated it needs to improve its messaging to the industry that it is willing and able, with hundreds of millions of dollars in buying power, to acquire assets, including outside its geographic footprint, as it seems to have missed out on several recent opportunities including Holiday and PDQ,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of consumer equity research for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Securities LLC.
Couche-Tard acquired Holiday in July. Also in July, La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. acquired 34-unit Wisconsin chain PDQ Food Stores Inc.
"Given the company's recent declaration of wanting to become more acquisitive, we also believe Casey's could have an interest in at least some portion of the [Kroger] assets," said Mandeville. The West Coast and Florida Panhandle assets may not fit, he said.