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.