Rumor: EG Group for Sale

storewanderer
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Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by storewanderer »

https://csnews.com/eg-group-sale

Not clear if this is the whole EG Group (didn't they just buy part of Asda from Wal Mart) or just parts of the EG Group like their US mess.

My view of EG Group running the former Kroger c-stores is they are really bad. There is little to no upkeep, pricing in-store has shot up and mix in-store has gone down, payment processing goes down often, and the stores just keep falling behind against better c-stores in the market. EG Group has invested nothing in expanding food or dispensed beverage programs in these former Kroger c-stores and is lagging way behind the rest of the industry. Their attempts to get a loyalty program going seem to keep failing due to systems issues. Kroger had a good synergy with the c-stores with the private label items, lower prices, larger mix of staple groceries, and loyalty card tie in with the main grocery banners. They were a little different from the usual c-store operation and I think their concept worked well. EG Group lost much of this synergy and never really brought anything new to the table to make up for the loss.

EG group did install new gas pumps so they take chip cards and the interface on the screens is most peculiar. It starts with "ICRGREET" then when you insert your card since you assume that is what you are supposed to do, it says "EMVAUTH" then it says "REMOVECARD" then "SELECTGRADE" then when it is time for the receipt it says "RECEIPTPROMPT." That last one you have to assume it means press yes or no- and it takes about 45 seconds for yes to actually respond and then says "RECEIPTPRINT" and prints a receipt. You cannot use any loyalty card at their pumps anymore, you have to go inside for that (either the Kroger card or the EG Group card).

Given 7-Eleven just got Speedway it is tough to see them taking on another acquisition so beyond that I am not sure who else would buy EG Group besides Circle K, unless one of the big oil companies decided to buy it. BP did buy Thornton's so maybe they are really interested in getting back into corporate operated stations in the US again.
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by HCal »

If anything, I would expect them to sell to private equity. Perhaps Apollo or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts would be interested. They could perhaps make some improvements and then sell it in whole or part it out to local operators.

Either that or Amazon might want to get into the c-store business and use the sites as locker locations :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by storewanderer »

HCal wrote: September 10th, 2021, 5:29 pm If anything, I would expect them to sell to private equity. Perhaps Apollo or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts would be interested. They could perhaps make some improvements and then sell it in whole or part it out to local operators.

Either that or Amazon might want to get into the c-store business and use the sites as locker locations :lol: :lol: :lol:
I expect Circle K will make a go. We will see. It would be for the better. Circle K is such a better operator than EG Group. EG Group in the US is really that bad. I'll stop short at saying EG Group in the US is worse than 7-Eleven, but frankly, objectively speaking, they probably are- they have higher prices, no developed private label, and worse/more limited food/dispensed beverage programs than 7-Eleven.

It would be interesting to see if Circle K would retain the Cumberland Farms brand; I do think that one has some pretty significant value and is worth keeping. As far as the other brands EG is holding in the US, converting them to Circle K would certainly happen in short order. It will take some money to upgrade the sites.
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by retailfanmitchell019 »

I wonder if Casey's should buy the Loaf N Jug operation? That would expand them west into Colorado.
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by storewanderer »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: September 11th, 2021, 7:43 pm I wonder if Casey's should buy the Loaf N Jug operation? That would expand them west into Colorado.
The Loaf N Jug are slightly larger sized stores in a lot of cases; Casey's could get their pizza/bakery programs into those stores.

Circle K did just sell those OK Stores to Casey's. A lot of the Kroger c-stores are in places that are quite like Oklahoma and similarly outdated to what Circle K ran in Oklahoma.

It is really too bad Kroger sold off the c-stores.

I look forward to seeing EG Group taken over by a better operator in the US (anyone). I hope they reach a deal quickly at a multiple they are satisfied with and go back to whatever it is they used to do. Running c-stores in the US has clearly been a complete afterthought.
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by mbz321 »

storewanderer wrote: September 10th, 2021, 11:15 pm
I expect Circle K will make a go. We will see. It would be for the better. Circle K is such a better operator than EG Group. EG Group in the US is really that bad. I'll stop short at saying EG Group in the US is worse than 7-Eleven, but frankly, objectively speaking, they probably are- they have higher prices, no developed private label, and worse/more limited food/dispensed beverage programs than 7-Eleven.

EG Has been using Cumberland Farms private label merchandise, mainly packaged snack items,, at least in their 'Turkey Hill' stores. Apparently the coffee being served is Cumberland's too, with mixed reactions. Regardless, EG seemed to have ruined what little positive reputation Turkey Hill had before (not that they were that wonderful before...pretty much Central PA's 7-11 equivalent).
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by Romr123 »

We've had a couple trips up to NY/New England this summer. Cumberland Farms seems to be a "cut above" a standard CircleK and so would be worthy of retaining. A store that I wasn't familiar with was Stewarts' out of Saratoga Springs--some of their stores in and around Albany were pretty good (hand-scooped ice cream with a sundae bar was kinda cool).
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

Romr123 wrote: September 12th, 2021, 7:28 am A store that I wasn't familiar with was Stewarts' out of Saratoga Springs--some of their stores in and around Albany were pretty good (hand-scooped ice cream with a sundae bar was kinda cool).
Stewart's is the "home team" around here-family owned and operated and known for very high quality products and sterling operations. They are constantly upgrading their stores usually by replacing smaller locations with brand new much larger shops. They are very involved in the community. Also bought a fuel distributor late last year. They are definitely a cut above and would compete well with the larger players. Actually they do because when going head to head, they easily best Cumberland Farms-not even a contest.
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by storewanderer »

mbz321 wrote: September 12th, 2021, 6:23 am EG Has been using Cumberland Farms private label merchandise, mainly packaged snack items,, at least in their 'Turkey Hill' stores. Apparently the coffee being served is Cumberland's too, with mixed reactions. Regardless, EG seemed to have ruined what little positive reputation Turkey Hill had before (not that they were that wonderful before...pretty much Central PA's 7-11 equivalent).
Interesting- none of that is in place out at Quik Stop. The Coffee is "Diamond Brew" whatever that is- still has the Kroger c-store logo on the redesigned cups. Historically the coffee program Kroger used was quite good I thought. I haven't bought any since those new cups showed up.

Do they still have an assortment of Turkey Hill branded dairy items in PA? The OH Turkey Hill units pretty much gutted the Turkey Hill product mix. Same for Loaf N Jug who had the Turkey Hill tea/lemonades. Quik Stop ever only got a dozen or so rows of those items in their cooler.

Also I thought EG was rebranding Minit Mart to EG America. That seems to have not happened, but Minit Mart is using the Kroger c-store logo. Saying Minit Mart is even a chain is a stretch. It was a small c-store operation in some regional market that TA bought, then TA started buying similar clusters of 30 c-stores all over the place and just rebranded them all to that Minit Mart thing. Of course then a few years later when TA realized putting together a bunch of disjointed c-stores of various sizes/various programs in non-adjacent territories did not work very well for making a chain, they unloaded the thing.

Now what is interesting is looking around I see EG Group did open a new store in 2020. It looks like one of their "Euro" units. It is in Wichita, KS at 656 South West Street. It is a very large glass fronted building including Taco John's, Cinnabon, way larger c-store than typical. I guess Taco Bell and Starbucks weren't interested (okay, Taco John's is certainly a better quality product than Taco Bell... but doesn't seem to have near the volume)? Anyway... Looks more like those service plazas on the tollways back east than what you'd expect to see in... Wichita, KS.
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Re: Rumor: EG Group for Sale

Post by mbz321 »

storewanderer wrote: September 12th, 2021, 12:03 pm
Do they still have an assortment of Turkey Hill branded dairy items in PA? The OH Turkey Hill units pretty much gutted the Turkey Hill product mix. Same for Loaf N Jug who had the Turkey Hill tea/lemonades. Quik Stop ever only got a dozen or so rows of those items in their cooler.
Yes they do. It logistically no longer really makes sense to carry them outside of the main Turkey Hill mart marketing area of PA. (Kroger doesn't own the dairy anymore either, it was sold off to private equity in 2019).

EG seems to be using the 'SmartPay' rewards App (something else borrowed from Cumberland Farms) across all of its C-store banners though. (Again, to the disappointment of many as it requires linking a checking account to get a gas discount. The old Kroger program worked regardless of payment method).

If the group is to be split apart, I could actually see 7-11 putting an offer in for Turkey Hill. Just recently 7-11 is sort of popping up in Central PA again via Sunoco and the former APlus mini marts, but even those are probably less than a dozen units at the moment.
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