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Couche-Tard and Core-Mark to join UGI

Convenience store chain and distributor are latest additions to buying group's roster

United Grocers Inc. appears on a roll, having just inked two new members.

Canadian Grocer has learned that convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard and the distributor Core-Mark are both joining the buying group July 1.

They are the second and third members signed in the last month by UGI.

In May, Quality Foods, an 11-store independent grocer on Vancouver Island, joined.

Laval-based Couche-Tard is Canada’s biggest convenience store chain with banners that include Couche-Tard and Mac’s.

Couche-Tard also owns and operates convenience stores and gas stations in the U.S. under brands such as Circle K, as well as the European gas-convenience chain Statoil, which it purchased two years ago.

Couche-Tard had global sales of US$35.5 billion last year.

Core-Mark, based in San Francisco, is a major distributor of tobacco products, candy, snacks, fast food, groceries, fresh food, dairy, bread and general merchandise to the convenience store industry in North America with annual sales of nearly US$9.8 billion last year.

It operates in some five Canadian provinces with distribution centres in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. A consolidation centre opened in Toronto late last year.

In March 2013, Core-Mark signed a five-year agreement with Imperial Oil to service approximately 500 Esso branded stores located in Ontario and the western provinces.

Core-Mark’s largest customer is Couche-Tard, accounting for nearly 15% of its overall sales.

UGI already includes a host of the country’s major grocery chains, including Metro, Overwaitea and Longo’s.

Last year, UGI lost one of its biggest members, Canada Safeway, when that grocery chain (with more than $6.7 billion in retail sales) was purchased by Sobeys, which is not a member of UGI.

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