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NEW YORK – The convenience industry secured a visible place on the 2007 edition of The National Retail Federation's (NRF) Store magazine "SAP Americas' " 'Top 100 Retailer List -- 14 convenience companies made the list.
The top convenience industry player on the list was 7-Eleven, placing 25th, down one spot from 2006. The retailer is banking on upscale foodservice such as papaya-mango fruit cups in chili-lime sprice to supplement lagging tobacco sales, the report stated.
Following that was a debut to the list -- Pilot Travel Centers at 30th. The reason for its debut was a newly expanded convenience category that was initiated in 2007, which includes truck stops and travel centers.
Next was Alimentation Couche-Tard, remaining unchanged at 34th for both 2007 and a year prior. Its spot was cemented with a number of acquisitions over the past year.
Giant Eagle, operator of GetGo convenience stores and the new format Giant Eagle Express, edged out The Pantry for No. 49. The Pantry placed 50, up 10 spots from 2006, which could be attributed to the number of acquisitions and new builds.
Hy-Vee, grocery store operator that also operates convenience stores, placed 57, while Tulsa-Oklahoma based QuikTrip snagged the 60th spot on the list.
RaceTrac Petroleum landed at 61, moving five spots higher compared to 2006. Meanwhile, Travel Centers of America was included on the list for the first time at 63.
Casey's General stores ranked 77, slipping four spots from 2006.
Sheetz and Love's Travel Stops places 82 and 83, respectively. Last year, Sheetz placed 73 on the list, while Love's Travel Stops is another new entrant under the truck stops category.
Wawa landed at number 92, falling from 53rd in 2006.
Finally, rounding out the Top 100 was Cumberland Farms, at No. 98.
The report stated that there is more foreign interest in the U.S. convenience industry than ever before. With large entries such as Britain's Tesco, Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard, Japan's Family Mart -- and smaller entries such as Alchemist USA, subsidiary of India-based Alchemist Group and Israel's EZ Energy Ltd.
The Top 100 Retailer list, decided by annual revenues, also named Power Players in each category. Companies making that list saw 2006 revenues equal to or greater than 10 percent of the revenues of the category leader. For the convenience industry, Power Players included:
-- Alimentation Couche-Tard
-- The Pantry
-- Casey's General
-- Cumberland Farms
-- Susser Holdings
-- Holiday Stationstores
The report also gave an outlook on retailing for the second half of 2007. While a number of factors could negatively impact the rest of this year -- including housing sales, economic growth and presidential campaigns -- several more could help retailers finish the year on a high note, such as flattened interest rates, lessened inflation, a narrowing trade deficit, increased employment and continued growth at retail.