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NATIONAL REPORT — Speedway LLC had no competition for the top spot on this year’s exclusive Convenience Store News Top 20 Growth Chains list. The annual ranking, now in its fourth year, puts the spotlight on those convenience store retailers that are leading the industry in store count growth.
Speedway, a division of Marathon Petroleum Corp., added a net 1,268 stores during 2014 — an increase of 86 percent year over year. At the end of 2014, the retailer had a total of 2,746 c-stores.
The Enon, Ohio-based company’s $2.8-billion acquisition of Hess Corp.’s retail network, which closed Sept. 30, boosted its footprint from nine states to 22. With that, Speedway entered new markets all along the East Coast and in the Southeast, plus expanded in its nine Midwest legacy states.
2014 was one of the most active years on record for merger and acquisition activity in the convenience store industry, and this year’s Top 20 Growth Chains ranking reflects the huge merger and acquisition deals that were consummated last year.
In addition to Speedway-Hess, Sunoco parent Energy Transfer Partners LP bought Susser Holdings Corp., Aloha Petroleum Ltd. and 40 Tigermarket stores from Tiger Management; and CST Brands Inc. bought the general partner interest of what is now known as CrossAmerica Partners LP, with the two companies teaming up to acquire Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes Inc.
Other companies making this year’s list ramped up organic growth, in part to keep up with competitor happenings in the marketplace. QuikTrip Corp., Wawa Inc. and Sheetz Inc. are just a few examples of regional powerhouses committed to growing their store counts organically.
The full Convenience Store News Top 20 Growth Chains list for 2015 is:
1. Speedway LLC
2. Western Refining Inc.
3. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
4. Energy Transfer Partners LP
5. CrossAmerica Partners LP
6. Casey’s General Stores Inc.
7. Shell Oil Co./Motiva Enterprises LLC
8. Murphy USA Inc.
9. CHS Inc./Cenex
10. Exxon Mobil Corp.
11. TravelCenters of America LLC
12. Kwik Trip Inc.
13. QuikTrip Corp.
14. Wawa Inc.
15. CST Brands Inc.
16. Pilot Flying J
17. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc.
18. Mirabito Energy Products
19. Sheetz Inc.
20. Holiday Cos.
Overall, this year’s Top 20 Growth Chains added 2,470 stores to their portfolios year over year. Six companies — Couche-Tard, Casey’s, Murphy USA, QuikTrip, Sheetz and Shell Oil/Motiva Enterprises — have earned a spot on the CSNews Top 20 Growth Chains list all four years it’s been published.
The Top 20 Growth Chains report is based on store count figures provided by TDLinx, a service of Nielsen, and identifies the c-store retailers that added the most convenience stores in the past year. Wherever possible, the TDLinx numbers were confirmed by the companies. TDLinx defines a convenience store as a store that includes a broad merchandising mix, extended hours of operation and a minimum of 500 SKUs. Fueling stations with small kiosk stores do not meet the official definition of a c-store and thus are not reflected in TDLinx’s store count figures.
For much more on Speedway and this year’s other Top 20 Growth Chains, look in the March issue of Convenience Store News.