The convenience top 101

#5

The Pantry (Kangaroo Express)

Headquarters:Cary, N.C.
No. of Stores:1,567
Avg. Store Size:2,600 sq. ft.
States of Operation:Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia

The Pantry is the largest independently operated convenience-store chain in the Southeastern United States. It has been among the industry's most ravenous consolidators over the past decade, having swallowed up several prominent chains, such as Petro Express, Cowboys, Shop-A-Snak Food Marts and Golden Gallon, among many others.

The company's appetite for acquiring strong assets, combined with steady organic store growth, has all but assured that The Pantry has the best possible locations in a broad variety of operating areas, from rapidly growing suburban neighborhoods to coastal and resort towns to posts along major interstate highways. In the aftermath of these acquisitions, the company has worked hard to remodel or reimage stores to the Kangaroo Express brand, which now adorns approximately 80% of its storefronts. On average, stores have roughly 2,600 square feet of selling space, but the stores vary in size and shape from about 1,800 square feet and up, which adds to the challenge of standardizing programs and plan-o-gramming. The company has set a goal of remodeling 10% of its stores in 2014.

In 2013, the chain introduced the "New at the Roo" program, which features updated Bean Street Coffee offers and a broader assortment of fresh foods. Stores also feature iced tea and a broader assortment of fresh pastries for on-the-go breakfast and snacks. Some stores in the Southeast are adding Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready menu items, the first time a Kangaroo Express store has featured an on-premise Little Caesars carryout restaurant.

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