Couche-Tard is the leader in the Canadian convenience store industry It has a unique growth story from one store in 1980 to a top player in the industry with 15,700 sites globally throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
In the United States, it is the largest independent convenience store operator in terms of the number of company-operated stores. In Europe, Couche-Tard is a prominent leader in convenience store and road transportation fuel retail in Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Poland, Russia – and now Ireland.
Circle K’s story began in 1951 with the purchase of three ‘Kay’s Food Stores’ in El Paso, Texas (this is also where the ‘K’ in Circle K comes from!). During the next few decades, Circle K grew its retail network through a series of acquisitions, which were incorporated into the Circle K brand. By 1975, there were 1,000 Circle K stores across the U.S. In 1979, Circle K entered the international market when a licensing agreement established the first Circle K stores in Japan. The company’s growth continued and, by 1984, sales had reached $1 billion.
In 1999, a franchise program was introduced to support operators looking to build a business with a leading convenience store brand. In 2003, Circle K was acquired by Canadian Group Alimentation Couche-Tard and has developed into a global brand represented in over 20 countries. In Ireland, the brand implemented will be Circle K.