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Leading US convenience store chain set to open shop in SA

One of the US’s leading convenience retail brands, Circle K, is expected to open its first South African store in October.

South Africa will soon have a new player in the convenience store sector, according to the Millat Group, which has entered into a licence agreement to bring Circle K franchises to the country.

The convenience store brand – already well-known in the US, where it’s second only to 7-Eleven in terms of the total number of outlets – offers fresh foods, hot and cold beverages, other convenience products, as well as fuel, car wash and even electric vehicle charging in some locations.

Circle K was founded in Texas in 1951 and was acquired by Canadian multinational Alimentation Couche-Tard in 2003.

Headquartered in Quebec, the broader Couche-Tard brand has 14,100 stores across 24 countries and territories, including approximately 1,900 franchise locations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania.

“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,” said Hamza Farooqui, CEO of Millat Group.

“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.

“We are currently engaging oil majors and property management companies in South Africa to ensure that we have a strong base to begin Circle K’s presence in the coming weeks.”

South Africa’s first Circle K store is expected to open in Gauteng in October.

In South Africa, Circle K will vie for territory and market share with already locally established retail brands like FreshStop, a subsidiary of Food Lover’s Market, Pick n Pay Express, and Woolworths. It will also compete with Total’s Café Bonjour, Shell Select, and Engen’s Quick Shop, along with a host of other forecourt coffee and fast-food brands that have partnered with petrol stations across the country.


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