Couche-Tard profits increase, despite COVID-19

Laval-based Couche-Tard convenience stores, one of the remaining crown jewels of corporate Quebec, managed to greatly increase its profits since last year, despite a setback this year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company says in its latest annual report to shareholders.

Couche-Tard, founded with a single outlet in Laval by Alain Bouchard 40 years ago, reported that it earned $576.3 million USD, or 52 cents per share, for the period ended this past April 26, compared to $293.1 million USD, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

“This year, Couche-Tard became a better, and stronger company,” Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch said in a statement, while adding that the company’s decentralized structure and managerial improvements allowed Couche-Tard to “face the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and fare far better than many other businesses.”

Hannasch believes Couche-Tard benefited from changes in customer behavior during the pandemic, such as purchasing more during each visit, and buying more impulse and emergency items. On the downside, Couche-Tard said it was negatively impacted by lower gasoline sales because of fewer drivers on the road during the pandemic.

Couche-Tard currently has 15,000 stores under various brand names, including Couche-Tard, 7-Jours, Circle K and On the Run, located in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Japan, China, and Indonesia.