Kroger Buyer EG Group Seizes Opportunity in U.S. C-Store Market

By 
Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

eg group

BLACKBURN, U.K. -- EG Group, the U.K. retailer that won the bid for Kroger’s convenience stores, is “keen to enter the U.S. market” as part of its “aim of being one of the world’s leading petrol forecourt convenience operators,” a company spokesperson told CSP Daily News.

The U.S. c-store market appeals to the Blackburn, U.K.-based company, “given the scale of opportunity” it represents, the spokesperson said.

Here’s what to expect from EG Group …

Top 10 deal

euro garage

With the $2.15 billion acquisition of Kroger’s 762-unit c-store division, EG Group—which previously had no U.S. retail presence—will immediately take its place among the 10 largest c-store chains in the United States.

EG Group will establish its North American headquarters in Cincinnati, where Kroger is based, and it will continue to operate the former Kroger-owned c-stores under their established regional banners: Kwik Shop, Loaf ‘N Jug, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill Minit Markets.

  • Click here for a full geographic breakdown and more details on the stores.

Kroger's supermarket fuel centers and its Turkey Hill Dairy were not included in the sale.

London-based private-equity firm TDR Capital LLP, founded in 2002 by Manjit Dale and Stephen Robertson, provided capital for the deal.

“Management’s current focus is on regulatory approval and integrating the Kroger sites into the existing EG portfolio,” the EG Group spokesperson said.

Euro Garages

mohsin and zuber Issa

Mohsin and Zuber Issa founded the business as Euro Garages in 2001 when they acquired a single gas station near Manchester, U.K.

Over the next decade, the brothers built the U.K. business by acquiring sites from ExxonMobil, Shell and others.

In 2015, TDR invested capital for further expansion and in 2016 created EG Group by merging European Forecourt Retail Group (EFR), which comprised more than 1,100 retail sites in the Benelux region (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) and France, with Euro Garages, a major forecourt retail business in the U.K.

Following the merger, EG Group had more than 1,450 sites in the U.K., France and Benelux.

EG Group

exxon mobil

Over the past year, EG Group has rapidly expanded its retail network:

  • In June 2017, EG Group reached an agreement with Esso Italiana Srl, an ExxonMobil company, for the purchase of 1,176 Esso-branded gas stations, located in several Italian regions.
  • In November 2017, EG Deutschland GmbH, an affiliate of EG Group, entered into a strategic partnership with ExxonMobil to expand the Esso brand in Germany. ExxonMobil is selling its approximately 1,000 Esso-branded gas stations to EG Group and converting its business to the branded wholesaler model already in place in other European markets and North America. The stations will continue selling ExxonMobil-supplied fuels. EG Group will assume all responsibilities associated with operating the station network in fourth-quarter 2018.
  • In January 2018, EG Group and ExxonMobil in the Benelux announced that EG Group will convert several hundred gas stations in the Benelux to the Esso brand in 2018. EG Group has a network of more than 650 Texaco and Firezone stations in the Benelux. This conversion will make EG Group ExxonMobil’s largest retail fuels customer, the company said.

With the inclusion of the Kroger assets, EG Group will own and operate approximately 4,400 sites in Europe and the United States.

EG Group’s strategy?

kroger logo

“EG’s model is built around investing in the sites and bringing consumers a best-in-class retail offer,” the EG Group spokesperson said. “EG has retail partnerships with Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, KFC and European convenience-store operator Spar, among others.”

The spokesperson offered little insight into EG Group’s strategy for the Kroger c-stores. Perhaps more will come once the deal is closed.

In the meantime, these YouTube videos offer some glimpses into EG’s retail outlets in Europe and how the company operates: