QT Fingered in Price War
Published in CSP Daily News
Independent retailers go after QuikTrip in court over alleged "price war"
ST. LOUIS -- A group of independent gas station owners in the Midwest is calling QuikTrip Corp. on the carpet for engaging in what it alleges is a "gasoline predatory price war" in the St. Louis market.
The Association of Independent Gas Station Owners is taking the Tulsa, Okla.-based convenience store chain to court over what it calls "QuikTrip's below-cost predatory pricing," which has forced the plaintiffs "to set prices for gasoline below their costs in order to sustain their presence in the marketplace," stated the lawsuit filed November 30 with the Eastern Division Court of Missouri.
"QuikTrip has engaged in this predatory price war of selling gasoline below its costs in order to dominate the marketplace in a manner that will allow it to recoup any losses it incurred as a result of its selling gasoline below its cost," stated the court document accessed by CSP Daily News.
The price war, which the document states began on or around July 1, "has forced independent gas station owners out of the St. Louis marketplace … caused injury and damage to plaintiffs and other independent gas station owners in the St. Louis marketplace … [and] caused injury to competition in the retail sale of gasoline in the St. Louis marketplace, which will ultimately cause harm to consumers in the form of higher gasoline prices dictated by QuikTrip."
The association, which is represented by West Moreland Service Inc. dba Go West Mart, George Minkevich and Edward Montgomery, requests the court:
- Enjoin QT's pricing practices.
- Award the plaintiffs "in excess of $50 million," as well as court and attorney fees.
- Impose penalties on QT.
- Provide for additional relief as deemed appropriate.
Concerning the suit, QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh told CSP Daily News, "We are not aware of it and haven't seen it; therefore, it's inappropriate to comment on it."
No court hearing dates were set as of yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon, the GasBuddy website listed average gasoline prices in the United States at $3.308 per gallon. In St. Louis, the average price was $3.039.
One year ago, according to GasBuddy, the average national price of gasoline was $2.884 per gallon, and the average price in St. Louis was $2.815.