A growing, competitive landscape forced the sale of 27 Sun Mart convenience stores in Eastern Washington to Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s Circle K Stores Inc. subsidiary.
“Our industry has reached a point where you have to be 200-plus stores in order to compete,” Craig Eerkes, president and CEO of Sun Pacific Energy in Gig Harbor, told the CSP Daily News. “We only have 36, and it’s going to be very difficult to get to the 200-store level.”
On July 18, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which owns Circle K Stores Inc., reached a deal with Sun Pacific to purchase 27 stores in Eastern Washington, primarily in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland.
Due to a confidentiality agreement between the companies, the purchase price is not being disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close in November 2012.
All the stores are company-operated and 26 offer gasoline; 19 are Shell branded and seven are Exxon branded. The Corporation expects the convenience stores to bring in a total additional volume of more than 43 million gallons in fuel and nearly $35 million in merchandise revenue.
Three of the sites have car washes and have sandwich shops under the Subway or Blimpie brands. Couche-Tard’s West Coast Division under the Circle K brand will operate the stations.
Under the terms of the agreement, Couche-Tard will buy the land and buildings for 26 of the locations and assume or enter into a lease for the remaining location.
“This is a great opportunity for the West Coast Division to make an entry into a new market with very high-quality assets from an outstanding and highly respected operator,” said Tim Tourek, vice president of operations, U.S. West Coast Division. “I am very confident the assets, market and team would make an immediate positive contribution to the Corporation.”
This transaction would bring the company-operated store count for the division to 252.
In North America, Couche-Tard Inc. is the largest independent convenience store operator in terms of number of company-operated stores. As of April, Couche-Tard had network of 5,803 convenience stores, 4,216 with fuel dispensing.