As the 2020 Convenience Store News Top 100 ranking shows, merger and acquisition activity continued to be a key trend in the industry over the past year, driving the top chains to keep a tight grasp on their titles, as others jockeyed to become the next big c-store player.
The percentage of the industry’s total stores operated by the top 100 increased by one point to 43 percent. The top 100 operate 63,843 stores, up from 63,258 in 2019. The percentage of stores operated by just the top 10 chains also grew year over year, rising by one point to 28 percent. The top 10 chains operate 42,698 stores, up from 41,804 the prior year.
In a similar picture to 2019, this year’s top 10 remains largely unchanged. Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. keeps its title as the largest U.S. chain, with a total 9,419 convenience stores across the nation, according to the data provided to CSNews by Nielsen TDLinx.
Also in a repeat of last year, Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. round out the top three. The percentage of the industry’s stores operated by just these three players continues to increase. They now operate 22,363 stores, which accounts for 15 percent of the industry, up one point from 2019.
This year’s ranking, though, does show some companies succeeding in climbing the ranks.
EG America, the U.S. retail division of United Kingdom-based EG Group, cracked the top 10 to capture the No. 9 spot with 2,047 stores (up from No. 13 last year). The boost came largely as a result of EG’s acquisition of Westborough, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms. That transaction, which closed in October 2019, added more than 560 locations to EG’s growing U.S. footprint.
Also making a strong showing in this year’s Top 100 ranking is Yesway, the operating banner of Beverly, Mass.-based BW Gas & Convenience LLC. Operating out of Des Moines, Iowa, Yesway closed on the largest deal in its four-year company history when it acquired Allsup’s Convenience Stores in November 2019. This catapulted Yesway to No. 23 on the annual list, up from No. 48 in 2019 — an impressive jump of 25 spots.
The Convenience Store News Top 100 is the industry’s longest-running accounting of the largest convenience store chains by store count.