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    QuikTrip, 7-Eleven Heat Up Charlotte Retail Scene

    Both c-store chains expected to face increased competition from bulked-up Kangaroo Express, however.

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A large convenience store spanning as much as 5,700 square feet offering a strong variety of made-to-order foodservice items is winning a lot of fans for QuikTrip Corp. (QT) here.

    According to the Charlotte Observer, Tulsa, Okla.-based QT, largely unknown in Charlotte just three years ago, is becoming extremely popular in the city.

    “It’s a great place,” said customer Charlie Zambrano. “[QT stores] are popping up everywhere.”

    QuikTrip now has 29 convenience stores in the Charlotte area, with eight more under construction. In North Carolina and South Carolina, QuikTrip now operates a total of 55 locations, representing the company’s fastest expansion.

    “We have just touched the surface,” QT Manager of Public and Government Affairs Mike Thornbrugh told the newspaper. “Our competitors would love to know our number. But it’s no secret we’re there to stay, and we’re going to continue to build in the right places.”

    Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. has also grown in the Charlotte area since it returned to the region following its purchase of 55 Sam’s Marts two years ago. 7-Eleven has since acquired CB Mart and Fast Track locations in the Carolinas. The retailer is also building new stores.

    QT and 7-Eleven can both expect to face a bulked-up competitor in the market soon, predicted the Observer. The Pantry Inc.’s Kangaroo Express c-store chain is already a mainstay in the region, and soon will gain tremendous spending power and marketing muscle, once Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. completes its purchase of the Cary, N.C.-based c-store operator.

    QuikTrip Corp. operates more than 700 convenience stores. 7-Eleven Inc. has approximately 7,700 stores in the United States.

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