SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A quarter of the way into 2018, the convenience-store industry in the United States remains quite strong despite a number of challenges facing the industry.
Store count grew in 2017 over 2016, whereas drugstore and supermarket store counts. Dollar stores grew significantly in the same period and remain a significant source of competition. But there are several other headwinds facing the industry as well.
Increases in electric-car sales, increased efficiency of gasoline engines and the pressures on cigarette sales all pose problems. In addition, Amazon, with the advent of its Amazon Go concept and its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Markets, is always a force to be reckoned with. Supermarkets and Amazon are both actively developing delivery services, whether in person or by drones or some other means.
A review of recent c-store M&A transactions reveals a further stratification of the major industry players. The transactions recently completed by 7-Eleven Inc. and Alimentation Couche-Tard/Circle K—the two largest players in the market—demonstrate that they are clearly the dominant industry players, even more so than they were before. However, several other companies completed a number of major transactions within the past year or two. Furthermore, there has been a great deal of interest in the industry by private equity firms and foreign companies. The recently announced sale of the Kroger convenience store unit to EG Group, a European company, is the best example of that interest.
Here’s an in-depth look at the c-store M&A market during the past 15 months and where the industry is headed next.
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