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    ACT Set to Offer Financial Services

    Checking and savings accounts, mortgage loans all said to be part of offering.

    MONTREAL -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ACT), operator of nearly 2,000 convenience stores in the United States and Canada, is mulling a plan to launch financial services.

    Canada's largest convenience store chain is considering offering checking and savings accounts and mortgage loans. "We're seriously studying the possibility," Stephane Gonthier, ACT's chief operating officer for Eastern Canada told The Canadian Press. "There is a market for such services, but it remains to be seen whether they can turn a profit for us."

    Gonthier did not say when ACT planned to move into the financial-services sector.
    He said the company has conducted customer surveys to gauge interest in the model, already in place at the Loblaw grocery chain, which has offered an array of financial services since 1998.

    ACT has no plans to set up banking outlets in all its convenience stores. Gonthier said the company might not set up the financial kiosks in an outlet that is near a bank, for example.

    "Our company usually adapts to the local environment," he said.

    Cash machines operated by major banks are already in place at many of the company?s stores.

    ACT?s brands include Mac's, Becker's, Mike's Mart and Provi-Soir banners in Canada and Bigfoot outlets in the U.S. Midwest.

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