First Circle K Convenience Store Opens in South Africa

South Africa’s first Circle K convenience store, now open in eastern Pretoria, is a precursor to a multi-store roll out in the coming months and part of a bigger forecourt deal with Puma Energy which will give access to over one hundred sites across South Africa.

Millat Convenience and Puma energy concluded an agreement that will see an accelerated roll out of Circle K stores on Puma Energy forecourts across the country.

The agreement is a clear sign of the confidence two major international brands have in South Africa’s future in the short term and could create around 2000 jobs.

The Puma Energy forecourt deal comes just weeks after Circle K owner Alimentation Couche-Tard and Millat Convenience, concluded a franchise agreement to bring the global convenience store to South Africa. 

(L-R) Ben Ouatarra – Puma Energy COO for Africa; Tasneem Motara – Gauteng MEC for Economic Development; Sadi Farooqui – Vice President Millat Investments; Hamza Farooqui – CEO Millat Investments

The Circle K partnership grants Millat an exclusive license to develop stores in the country. Five more stores are set to open in Gauteng and North West Province in the coming weeks, including a stand-alone operation at the University of Johannesburg which will open in late January 2023.

 (L-R) Ben Ouatarra – Puma Energy COO for Africa; Tasneem Motara – Gauteng MEC for Economic Development; Hamza Farooqui – CEO Millat Investments

With Puma Energy on board, Circle K has a growth platform that will allow the Circle K brand to improve the convenience store space in South Africa.

Janet Sithole, Non-Fuels Retail Manager for Africa says: “This is the start of an exciting new chapter in Puma Energy’s story in South Africa. Like Puma Energy, Circle K is known around the world for its commitment to quality and excellent customer service. This partnership aligns with our plans to create high-quality fuel and convenience outlets where customers can access all their fuel and daily shopping needs at clean, friendly and convenient retail sites.”

(L-R) Hamza Farooqui – CEO Millat Investments; Ben Ouatarra – Puma Energy COO for Africa; Tasneem Motara – Gauteng MEC for Economic Development; Janet Sithole – Puma Head of Non Fuels Retail Africa Region; Sadi Farooqui – Vice President Millat Investments; Fadi Mitri – Puma Energy Head of Africa 

Puma Energy has a network of 112 retail sites across South Africa with a variety of convenience retail offerings, car washes and quick-service food outlets.

The first Pretoria site is located at the busy Puma Energy facility in Moreleta Park, close to Menlyn, and footfall has already exceeded initial expectations.

Tasneem Motara – Gauteng MEC for Economic Development

Hamza Farooqui, CEO, Millat Group says: “Unlike other forecourt operations, where petrol often takes precedence over stores, we have inverted the model with the intention of our outlets becoming sought-after destinations in themselves. Apart from a welcoming ambiance and décor, we will offer a variety of freshly made (on-site), chef-inspired food as well as several new imported candy and confectionary brands.”

Hamza Farooqui – CEO Millat Investments

Local Circle K stores will also employ in-house baristas to offer a superior coffee programme.

Farooqui says filling station forecourts have become a major new driver of retail commerce and discerning consumers are not only looking for variety and quality, but also a better shopping experience in as short a time as possible.

To that end stores will provide comfortable clean seating areas as well as tastefully decorated, well-lit, clean washrooms.

(L-R) Ben Ouatarra – Puma Energy COO for Africa; Tasneem Motara – Gauteng MEC for Economic Development; Fadi Mitri – Puma Energy Head of Africa

As part of the Millat Group’s stated intention of being a jobs enabler in South Africa, the Circle K operation will provide employment and training as well as being a boost to the retail industry supply chain.

(L-R) Ben Ouatarra – Puma Energy COO for Africa; Tasneem Motara – Gauteng MEC for Economic Development; Hamza Farooqui – CEO Millat Investments

Notes Farooqui: “Bringing Circle K to South Africa aligns with our concept of introducing customer-centric brands, experiences, and compelling food service offerings. This further speaks to our strategy to play within the leisure, hospitality, food service and convenience segments. As a brand, Circle K is an acknowledged leader in the convenience retail sector, and this deal will allow for disruption in this space as we are a company with extensive expertise in every facet of convenience and retail.”

The Millat Group is a South African private equity firm with a private portfolio of assets within the tourism and hospitality sector.

For more information, please visit www.millatinvest.com

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