LAVAL, Quebec -- Circle K convenience stores continue to test the power of scale with the ongoing push of their private-label Crown branded cigarettes, announcing on its recent investor call that the company has moved the price up “a little bit” to capture even more margin.
Describing Crown as “very important” and having “a good following,” Brian Hannasch, CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard, Laval, Quebec, the parent company of the 12,000-store Circle K chain, said, “We think it’s a quality product that offers a great price to consumers and … allows us to capture more margin.”
In describing the chain’s tobacco business overall, Hannasch said volume trends were “positive on a same-store basis.” Volumes have been positive for the first six months of the calendar year and for the first three months of their fiscal year, he said.
Couche-Tard, which took an aggressive step as one of the industry’s major consolidators in its recent acquisition of about 2,000 stores from San Antonio-based CST Brands, is one of many major and midtier c-stores trying to gain more margin on low-priced cigarettes. It started its Crown brand about four years ago, citing frustrations with pricing suggestions coming from major manufacturers.