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Couche-Tard to Begin Operations in 25th Country

Circle K to debut in South Africa through master license agreement with Millat Convenience
Photograph: Shutterstock

LAVAL, Quebec, and JOHANNESBURG — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and Millat Convenience Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of the Millat Group, have announced a master license agreement that will bring Circle K to South Africa. Millat, which has been granted an exclusive license to develop franchised Circle K stores in South Africa, expects to open the first location in the Gauteng province in late October.

Millat Group is a privately owned, multinational family business that has built up a broad portfolio of assets within the tourism and hospitality sector. Hamza Farooqui, CEO of Millat Group, said his company has worked extensively over the past year to lay the foundation for Circle K’s introduction to the South Africa market.

“Bringing Circle K to South Africa aligns with our concept of introducing customer-centric brands, experiences and compelling foodservice offerings,” he said. “This further speaks to our strategy to play within the leisure, hospitality, foodservice and convenience segments. As a brand, Circle K is an acknowledged leader in the convenience retail sector, and this deal will allow for disruption in this space as we are a company with extensive expertise in every facet of convenience and retail.”

Outside the United States and Canada, Couche-Tard has approximately 1,900 franchise Circle K locations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

“We are always exploring opportunities to bring Circle K to new customers with franchise partners who understand how to build brands in their markets,” said Pat Fitzpatrick, vice president of global franchise for Circle K. “Millat Group understands the South African consumer, has a strong track record of building retail, hospitality and food service brands in that country and has exciting plans for the Circle K brand. We are very pleased to be working with them to bring to life our mission to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day.”

  • Alimentation Couche-Tard is No. 2 on CSP’s 2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard’s 24-country global network includes approximately 9,300 c-stores in North America, with more than 7,100 in the United States, primarily under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners, and approximately 2,100 in Canada under the Circle K, Mac’s and Couche-Tard banners. In Europe, under the Circle K and other banners, Couche-Tard operates a retail network in Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden including more than 2,700 stores and unmanned automated fuel stations. (Couche-Tard pulled out of Russia in March over the war in Ukraine.) Under licensing agreements, more than 2,100 stores operate under the Circle K banner in 14 other countries and territories (Cambodia, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam). This brings Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard’s worldwide total network to approximately 14,100 mostly Circle K-branded c-stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer motor fuel.

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