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The Owl Stays: Couche-Tard Refreshing Its Legacy Brand

Retailer aligning Quebec c-stores more closely with global Circle K image
Photograph by David Boyer

LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s Quebec West and Quebec East and Atlantic business units in Canada earlier this year embarked on a visual refresh that will allow new and existing Couche-Tard-branded convenience stores to update their look, aligning with the new global Circle K brand presence while honoring the Couche-Tard heritage.

In 2015, Couche-Tard launched a global rebranding initiative to convert most of its c-stores outside of Quebec to the Circle K brand. The c-stores in Quebec would maintain the legacy Couche-Tard brand. And it retained the Holiday Stationstores brand when it acquired the 522 company-operated and franchised c-stores in 2017 in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan and Alaska.

The regional brand refresh includes the iconic owl, an important part of the company’s identity for the past 40 years.

The company has opened two stores in the Montreal area, and more will follow in the Quebec West division over the coming year.

“The owl is emblematic of Couche-Tard’s heritage and modernizing our colors is a testament to how much we’ve grown globally through the Circle K brand. Our wish is that our team members and customers feel a sense of pride in knowing that both journeys are connected and that this is how we continue to spread our wings,” said Stéphane Trudel, the company’s senior vice president of operations for Canada.

  • Alimentation Couche-Tard is No. 2 on CSP’s 2021 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard’s 26-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 Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia including more than 2,700 stores and unmanned automated fuel stations. And under licensing agreements, more than 2,200 stores operate under the Circle K banner in 15 other countries and territories (Cambodia, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam). This brings Couche-Tard’s worldwide total network to approximately 14,200 mostly Circle K-branded c-stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer motor fuel.

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