The largest convenience-store operator in Canada, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is also a major force in the U.S. and global c-store markets, and industry experts have expected it to wrest the No. 1 ranking from 7-Eleven Inc. in CSP's annual count of U.S. c-stores.

Couche-Tard's North American retail network consists of 15 business units, 11 in the United States covering 48 states and the District of Columbia, and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces. While it has been rebranding stores to a new global Circle K brand since 2016, the company operates in the United States under the Circle K, Holiday Stationstores and Corner Store (CST Brands Inc.) banners and in Canada under the Circle K and Couche-Tard banners. It also has a retail network in Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia, and it licenses the Circle K brand in 16 other countries. Its worldwide network consists of nearly 15,000 stores.

Circle K stores offer a wide variety of branded and private-label items and the Simply Great coffee and Polar Pop fountain programs.

In 2019, after a series of asset swaps, Couche-Tard sold fuel distributor and retailer CrossAmerica Partners, which it acquired in 2017 when it purchased CST Brands, to its founder, Joe Topper.

Top 202 totals cross-referenced with Couche-Tard show the company's U.S. store count declining by more than 2,000 sites in the past year, from 8,389 to 5,993. The change is based on a reclassification of some of Couche-Tard's stores and not a sale or rebranding.

Couche-Tard Inc. also has invested in Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., an independent Canadian cannabis retailer, and entered into an agreement with Canopy Growth Corp., a diversified cannabis and hemp company, to sell recreational marijuana in Ontario.

For benchmarking purposes, store counts are year-end 2019.

No. of Stores:5933
Rank Last Year:2