Hong Kong conglomerate Li & Fung is selling 340 Circle K stores in the city to Canadian convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard (ACT) for HK$2.8 billion (US$361 million).
Quebec-based ACT founded the Circle K brand in 1951, and it was brought to Hong Kong by Li & Fung in 1985. Currently, it is the second-largest convenience store chain in the city, behind only 7-Eleven, which is owned by Dairy Farm Group and has more than 900 stores in the city.
Convenience Retail Asia, the listed retail arm of Li & Fung, which operates Circle K Hong Kong, said anti-government protests last year and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had forced it to review the business, whose target customers included tourists. In its interim report, released on August 13, the company said Circle K had seen “stagnation in profit” due to “the dramatic fall-off in store traffic due to Covid-19, particularly at locations in commercial and boundary transit hubs, which forced the group to cut around 10,000 operating hours”.