One of the largest independently operated convenience-store chains in the Southeastern United States, The Pantry has been among the industry’s most ravenous consolidators over the past decade, having swallowed up several prominent chains such as Petro Express, Cowboys, Shop-A-Snak Food Marts and Golden Gallon, among many others.

In his earnings call with investors in July 2014, CEO Dennis Hatchell focused on the beverage category--both packaged and dispensed, alcohol and non-alcohol--as a key driver in store merchandising.

The Pantry continues to remodel stores, with a target of remodeling 10% of the stores in 2014.

In 2013, the chain also introduced the “New at the Roo” program, which rolled out to 16 Kangaroo Express stores in Fayetteville, N.C. Another 19 were opened in the fall.

Hatchell has set a strategy of merchandising for individual stores rather than rolling out cookie-cutter programs in markets. Newer or upgraded locations have wider aisles and lower gondolas (42-48 inches vs. 54 inches), greatly improving the sightlines in the stores, giving a more open and less-cramped appearance overall. Aisles have been cleared of shippers, and windows are kept clear of signs.

Alimentation Couche-Tard in December 2014 announced plans to acquire The Pantry. The deal is expected to close midyear 2015.

Q1 2015 Update

On March 16, Couche-Tard completed its merger with The Pantry Inc. The all-cash transaction, in the amount of $860 million, represented a per-share price of $36.75, with a total enterprise value of approximately $1.7 billion including debt. The transaction purchase price represented a 27% premium to The Pantry’s closing share price on Dec. 16, 2014. Post-merger, the combined U.S. and Canadian store count is more than 7,800.

Headquarters:Cary, North Carolina
No. of Stores:1518
Average Store Size:1,000-2,500 sq. ft.
Rank Last Year:5
States of Operation: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia