DUBLIN -- Irish convenience-store and forecourt retailer Applegreen’s quiet move into the United States this past year could become a full-blown launch into the East Coast market, according to reports.
The retailer now operates 10 convenience stores with gasoline in two states and recently signed agreements with CrossAmerica Partners LP and 7-Eleven Inc. that could open the door to further expansion in the United States.
Click through to find out more about what the Irish hope to bring to America …
In announcing Applegreen’s half-year results for the six months ending June 30, 2016, the company said, “During the period we added an additional site in Long Island and signed an agreement with CrossAmerica Partners to take over nine sites in the Massachusetts area on a leasehold basis. Four of these sites were taken over since June 30. In addition, we signed an agreement with 7-Eleven to convert and operate our Hempstead, Long Island, store as a 7-Eleven franchisee. We expect the conversion work to be complete during fourth-quarter 2016.”
CrossAmerica Partners, Allentown, Pa., is a wholesale distributor of motor fuels across the northeastern United States. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Laval, Quebec, is acquiring CrossAmerica along with San Antonio-based c-store retailer CST Brands. Inc.
Established in 1992, Dublin, Ireland-based Applegreen is a major c-store and fuel retailer in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, with a small presence in the United States. The business operates 220 sites across the three markets. It is a leading motorway service area (rest area in the United States) operator in the Republic of Ireland.
NACS named Applegreen as its 2016 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award for its new M1 Lisburn motorway service area in Northern Ireland.
The retailers “distinctive retail-led business model” for all of its stores is built around the following key features:
- “Low Fuel Prices, Always” price promise. It aims to offer the lowest fuel prices in each locality in which it operates, which “drives footfall” to its retail, food and beverage offerings.
- “Better Value Always” in shop. The company’s retail proposition aims to provide strong value to its customers particularly through its "Better Value Always" offers. In the Republic of Ireland, this is supported by its own distribution center.
- Quality food and beverage offering. It aims to provide a premium food and hot beverage offering at all its outlets. Applegreen has strategic partnerships with international brands, including Burger King, Subway, Costa Coffee, Greggs, Lavazza, Chopstix and Freshii. It also has its own food offer through the aCafe and Bakewell cafe brands.
Learning the U.S.
Applegreen CEO Bob Etchingham said the company’s U.S. operations are breaking even and not consuming much management time.
“We’re still in learning mode in the U.S.,” he told The Belfast Telegraph. “We’re still developing relationships. We do want to continue to develop there, but we’re doing it in a very measured and cautious fashion. We will look to make a decision as to whether we push on in the United States, probably sometime in the first half of 2017.”
Applegreen’s Petrogas Group U.S. Inc. operates the convenience stores, which feature a selection of food and beverage items, automotive accessories and supplies.
Its retail presence in the United States will encompass the “Low Fuel Prices, Always” and “Better Value Always” commitment in the stores for its customers to ensure it is most competitive in its locality, the company said.
In the United States, Applegreen intends to introduce new initiatives from its experience in Ireland and United Kingdom, “which we believe will be positively received by our U.S. customers,” it said.