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Couche Tard buys 55 Super Pantry stores in Illinois, Indiana

BY Dan Berthiaume

Laval, Canada – Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. will acquire 55 Super Pantry convenience stores and related assets from Tri Star Marketing Inc. Fifty-one of the stores are located in the state of Illinois ,and four stores located in the state of Indiana. These stores offer Phillips 66 and Mobil branded motor fuel.

As a result of the transaction, Couche-Tard plans on keeping the existing fuel brands and would buy the land and buildings for 54 locations and would assume or enter into a lease for the single remaining location. Couche-Tard will also acquire three Bulk Plant facilities located in the state of Illinois and state of Indiana.

Following the acquisition, all of the stores will be operated under the Circle K brand by Couche-Tard’s Midwest Division. Terms were not disclosed.

The transaction is anticipated to close before the end of Couche-Tard’s second quarter, which is scheduled for Oc.12, and is subject to the standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Available cash dollars will pay for the transaction.

According to Jon Stewart, president and CEO of Tri Star Marketing, Inc. a third-generation family business based in Champaign, Illinois, whose family has led the Super Pantry business for the last 67 years, commented: "I am personally excited about this transaction, the addition of Super Pantry to Couche-Tard’s network of convenience stores will complement its leadership position under the Circle K brand. It is a true win for both consumers and shareholders of both organizations.”

"Subsequent to this transaction, Couche-Tard’s network in the Circle K Midwest Division would include a total of 600 company operated-stores and 193 locations under wholesale or franchise agreement. These stores occupy strategic locations within their respective trade areas. This acquisition would be a great addition to Couche-Tard’s expansion and growth plans for the Midwest Division." commented Bruce Landini, VP operations, Midwest Division.

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BitPay woos businesses with new pricing plan

BY CSA STAFF

BitPay, a payment service provider (PSP) specializing in e-commerce, B2B and enterprise solutions for the bitcoin digital currency, has unveiled a new pricing plan that offers basic payment processing free, forever.

The company is hoping to leverage the pricing plan to woo businesses into accepting bitcoin for goods and services.

“We have set a goal to enroll 1 million merchants by the end of 2016,” said Tony Gallippi, BitPay’s co-founder and executive chairman. “When we started BitPay in 2011, we saw an opportunity to finally give merchants around the world relief from interchange fees. By offering a basic plan that is free and unlimited, forever, we give merchants yet another reason to be excited about bitcoin.”

BitPay touts bitcoin’s advantages over credit cards, because the bitcoin network, according to the company, offers instant low-cost payments anywhere in the world by using a distributed network that is free from interchange. Accepting bitcoin also opens new international markets for businesses, including South America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa where accepting traditional credit cards is risky and expensive and banking services are less developed, the company said.

BitPay’s free processing allows merchants unlimited use of any plugin, API or app from BitPay’s library and grants them access to BitPay’s industry-leading email support. BitPay will continue to offer its business and enterprise plans for customers that need additional products and support services.

BitPay has integrated the world’s leading tools for e-commerce, billing and retail point-of-sale including WordPress, Shopify, VisualTouch, New West, Magento and SoftTouch, in an effort to make it easy for businesses to add bitcoin as a payment option.

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Survey: Understanding customers key to holiday sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Santa Cruz, Calif. – Sixty-six percent of retailers attending the recent Big Data & Analytics for Retail Summit believe the number one way to ensure a successful holiday season is to understand customer behavior to drive sales and build loyalty. Moreover, data from business analytics provider Looker shows that four-in-10 retailers feel they are still ineffective when it comes to using data to improve business performance.

The Looker poll also revealed retailers’ top challenges with business intelligence include ad hoc report requests that take up the majority of analysts’ time (34%). Other challenges include the inability to collaborate across the business to uncover data insights (31%), disjointed data that hinders decision-making (31%) and standardized reports that don’t allow the full analysis of data (16%).

The Looker retail poll also uncovered retailers’ holiday business intelligence wish lists. At the top of the list were the ability to experiment with new data models without requiring new hardware, software or additional resources (25%) and a platform that allows staff to have access to explore the data they need to make their own decisions (22%). Other requests were the ability to provide top customer service by quickly responding to customer issues and complaints (16%) and speeding up their current analytics process (16%).

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