The parent company of the US convenience retailer, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., says South Africa presents a new growth opportunity for the brand as it continues to expand in global markets
The first Circle K site is set to open in South Africa’s Gauteng province in October 2022 | Photo credit: Alimentation Couche-Tard
Circle K owner Alimentation Couche-Tard has announced a franchise agreement with Millat Convenience, a subsidiary of the Johannesburg-based Millat Group, to bring the US convenience store to South Africa.
The partnership grants Millat an exclusive licence to develop franchised stores in the country with the first Circle K site set to open in South Africa’s Gauteng province in October 2022.
South Africa represents Circle K’s 25th global market. It currently operates a network of approximately 7,000 stores in the US and 1,900 branded locations outside of North America.
In February 2022, Circle K began opening smaller format stores in Dublin, Ireland, as part of its strategy to open more city centre locations.
“Millat Group understands the South African consumer, has a strong track record of building retail, hospitality and food service brands in that country and has exciting plans for the Circle K brand. We are very pleased to be working with them to bring to life our mission to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day,” said Pat Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Global Franchise for Circle K.
Millat Group, a South African private equity firm, has a private portfolio of assets within the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Bringing Circle K to South Africa aligns with our concept of introducing customer-centric brands, experiences, and compelling food service offerings. This further speaks to our strategy to play within the leisure, hospitality, food service and convenience segments. As a brand, Circle K is an acknowledged leader in the convenience retail sector, and this deal will allow for disruption in this space as we are a company with extensive expertise in every facet of convenience and retail,” said Hamza Farooqui, CEO, Millat Group.
South Africa’s convenience retail sector is led by petrol station forecourt operators, including domestic companies Astron Energy Fresh Stop, Engen Quick Shop and Sasol Delight, and international brands Shell Select and BP Express.
In July 2022 South African coffee chain Seattle Coffee Company announced plans to open as many as 100 outlets within selected Sasol Delight convenience stores across South Africa by 2026 as it expands its retail partnerships.