Couche-Tarde Launches Private BRand Cigarettes

Quebec-based convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has launched Private Brand cigarettes in the United States to offset the impact of lower margins caused by new policies from the folks at Marlboro. Even in the new American environment where Private Brands are rapidly growing and widely accepted Private Brand cigarettes are rare, so this move by a major retailer player could shift a dramatic change for cigarette manufacturers

The Quebec-based company said it has had trouble keeping its new Private Brand, “Crown” on shelves since it was introduced about five weeks ago.

“We’re very, very excited with the market share we have taken so far over such a short period,” chief executive officer Alain Bouchard said Tuesday during a conference call with analysts.

“It has exceeded our year target after five weeks so it’s very, very exciting.”

“We have a shortage of inventory after a couple of weeks after launch so we are very happy,” Mr. Bouchard told analysts.

Canada’s largest convenience store chain is the second-largest in North America. Its network is comprised of more than 5,800 stores, of which 4,225 include motor fuel dispensing in 42 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and all Canadian provinces.

The company operates its corporate stores under mainly Couche-Tard, Mac’s, Circle K, On the Run and also under the affiliated brands 7-jours, Dairy Mart, Daisy Mart and Winks.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.