One of the USA’s biggest retail brands is coming to South Africa

Millat Convenience, a subsidiary of Millat Group, has announced that it will be bringing convenience retail brand Circle K to South Africa – with its first store set to open in Gauteng in October 2022.

Millat has entered into a Master Licence Agreement with the Canada-based convenience store operator, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, to bring the brand to South Africa. Circle K was acquired by Couche-Tard in 2023.

The Circle K brand offers fresh food, hot and cold beverages and other convenience products, as well as fuel stations and electric vehicle charging. It is one of the largest convenience retail brands in the United States with over 7,000 outlets – second only to the 7Eleven brand.

Circle K vice president Pat Fitzpatrick said that South Africa presents Circle K with “compelling opportunities for growth” as the brand continues to expand in global markets.

“Millat Group understands the South African consumer, has a strong track record of building retail, hospitality, and food service brands, and has exciting plans for the Circle K brand,” he said.

With Circle K as its global brand, Couche-Tard’s network today consists of nearly 14,100 locations across 24 countries – including 1,900 franchise locations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

“This deal shows Millat’s strength in bringing willing international brands into South Africa to invest, creating job opportunities and economic growth,” said Millat Group CEO Hamza Farooqui.

“Bringing Circle K to South Africa aligns with our concept of introducing customer-centric brands, experiences, and compelling food service offerings.”

South Africa’s convenience retail sector is dominated by offerings at fuel station forecourts, including Engen Quick Shop, Shell Select, BP Express, Sasol Delight and Astron Energy Fresh Stop.

The sector is also increasingly being encroached upon by the larger retail brands, with Shoprite’s OK Express, Pick n Pay Express and Woolworths Food stores also making their way to forecourts across the country.

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