El Corte Inglés Plans to Open 1,000 Gas Station Stores in Conjunction with Repsol

15 October 2018 – Real Estate Press

There are almost 11,500 gas stations in Spain, of which more than 8,500 have shops. El Corte Inglés was one of the first groups to operate in conjunction with oil companies and that group is now planning to open 1,000 new gas station stores together with Repsol.

Gas station stores typically have a wide range of opening hours, span an extensive network and are easy to stop at to make quick purchases. It was only a matter of time before distribution groups decided to team up with oil companies to manage their service station stores. Now the time has come for those formats to flourish.

The formula allows supermarket chains to grow rapidly without having to recruit staff or undertake significant investments. Meanwhile, the petrol companies benefit from offering more attractive service stations, with a more extensive range of products and a lower cost base by entrusting the management of their stores to specialists with a volume of purchases that generates significant savings.

Sales at gas station stores amounted to €580 million in 2017, although the potential of this format is much greater.

Forecast growth

El Corte Inglés was one of the first groups to operate agreements with petrol companies. Initially, it constituted the company Gespevesa together with Repsol in 1998, which they control (50%) and which owns 39 service stations. Last year, that entity recorded revenues of €39.2 million, down by 26% and earned profits of €3.8 million, up by 28%. Next, it joined forces with Cepsa to develop a refuelling discount strategy. And, now, it has committed to a major agreement with Repsol to create “the largest network of convenience stores in Spain” under the brand Supercor Stop & Go.

Carrefour has also changed its petrol partner over the years: it started working on this type of alliance with BP, but in 2013, it opted to join Cepsa to grow a new format, Carrefour Express Cepsa, which currently comprises 333 stores. One fact serves to explain the importance of this agreement for the French group, namely, that it is the format with the most stores in around twenty Spanish provinces, including Asturias, Murcia, the Balearic Islands, Castellón, Lleida, Toledo, Valladolid and Zaragoza, amongst others.

Día is the other group that has heavily backed the format, with the launch of a pilot project together with BP in four of its gas stations in Madrid under the Shop brand. Previously, in 2015, Dia signed an agreement in collaboration with Disa (Shell) to supply the counters in five of its stores. BP has also worked with other partners. Between 2013 and 2016, Alcampo supplied products, including its own brand range, to stores in its gas stations. Moreover, BP has operated some regional alliances for years with other smaller supermarket chains to generate benefits through their loyalty cards (…).

Finally, Galp, the fifth largest petrol company in Spain, has not been averse to these agreements either; it has worked with GM Food, the former Miquel Group. Their partnership began in 2013, with 12 pilot stores operating under the Sar brand; it continued the alliance once that project had finished, with the Catalan group as the supplier of its stores; and now, the two firms have started another trial in eight locations under the format Suma Exprés.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

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