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The Impact of Mergers on the Convenience Store Industry

The convenience store (c-store) industry is comprised of over 151,000 locations across the U.S. and generates close to $700 billion in annual sales revenues, according to nacsonline.com. As the industry ebbs and flows and new services, products and higher customer standards become commonplace in the modern convenience store, most organizations take measures to capitalize on these trends while innovating to keep costs as low as possible.

Recent Mergers and Acquisitions may change the Convenience Store Landscape

The c-store industry has been markedly impacted by several large scale merger transactions in the past few years. A few notable examples include:

1. May 2014: Speedway, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corp. doubled its size by finalizing a $2.8 billion acquisition of HESS fuel stations and HESS Express c-stores, expanding its footprint from nine states to 23. Nearly 15,000 HESS employees became employees of Speedway as a result. HESS was formerly the largest operator of convenience stores along the entire East Coast. Industry analysts have recognized Speedway as a gas price leader and hope its competitive approach will continue to benefit consumers at the former HESS locations.

2. May 2015: 7-Eleven acquired Tedeschi Food Shops, located across the greater Boston, Massachusetts region and New Hampshire. 7-Eleven added 182 convenience stores in busy, high-volume locations to its existing presence of 164 stores in the region. A press release from 7-Eleven stated the company intended to offer jobs to most of Tedeschi employees impacted by the merger.

3. July 2015: Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the parent of Sunoco LP, acquired Susser Holdings Corporation (SHC) under a purchase agreement valued near $1.93 billion. As a result, Sunoco will acquire roughly 680 Stripes c-stores located across New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Stripes had been formerly known as the leading independent operator of convenience stores in Texas based on its number of locations and retail fuel sales. Information regarding any job cuts or realignments has not yet been disclosed.

Potential Concerns and Hopes over Convenience Store Mergers

Some experts and industry workers are concerned about how these types of acquisitions will impact workplace culture, job security, as well as the actual benefits passed along to the consumer. Given the number of personnel involved, mergers can have a tremendous impact on the employees of the organization being acquired. In the 7-Eleven case, most (but not all) employees were expected to receive job offers. Historically, employees in shared services roles such as accounting and human resources face the highest probability of being displaced.

Even for the many employees likely to retain their positions with the new organization, they would almost certainly be expected to assimilate into a new corporate culture.

Most company owners, many of whom started as mom-and-pop businesses, consider very seriously a merger's impact on the employees who remain behind after the sale is concluded. When a merger results in job cuts, do the former owners help those employees affected by means of severance packages or employment searches? What about those who are not entitled to golden parachute provisions? In other cases such as the HESS deal, will competitive pricing continue to attract consumers and ultimately drive growth and job creation in the acquired territories? Certainly, it is easy to surmise that targets of future acquisitions will have a lot to consider as these agreements continue to shape the face of the convenience store industry in the years to come.

Resources:

"7-Eleven, Inc. Continues Fast-Paced U.S. Growth with Acquisition of Massachusetts-Based Tedeschi Food Shops. 7-Eleven Corporate." N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May. 2015.
"Sunoco LP Completes Acquisition of Susser Holdings Corporation." -- HOUSTON, July 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2015
"Sunoco Parent Buys Texas Chain for $1.8 Billion." Philly-archives. N.p., 30 Apr. 2014. Web. 07 Aug. 2015.

Wrobinson@pennlive.com, Wesley Robinson |. "Local Hess Gas Stations Get Speedy Makeover, Transform to Speedway Stores." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2015.

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