Mac's stores to be renamed Circle K, says owner Couche-Tard

Mac’s, the brand that ushered in the era of the chain convenience store for many Canadians, is to be retired by Quebec owner Alimentation Couche-Tard.

Quebec-owned Mac's among the 1st chain convenience stores in the 1970s

Mac's stores have been a fixture across Canada since the early 1970s. They are to be renamed Circle K, after a U.S. brand. (Alimentation Couche-Tard)

Mac's, the brand that ushered in the era of the chain convenience store for many Canadians, is to be retired by Quebec owner Alimentation Couche-Tard.

Couche-Tard plans to adopt the Circle K brand for most of its locations in North America and Europe.

Begun in 1962 as Mac's Milk, it began rolling across Canada in the mid-1970s, replacing many Mom and Pop convenience stores.

Mac's Convenience Stores Ltd., owned by Silverwood Dairies Ltd., was a convenient Sunday or after-hours stop for milk, bread and other staples in the years when most retailers could not open on Sundays or late at night.

By 1996, when it acquired Becker's Convenience stores in Ontario, it had 1,004 stores across the country.

Alimentation Couche-Tard bought the chain in 1999. The big Quebec operator of convenience stores was spreading into the U.S. and Europe and bought 2,000 Circle K stores in the U.S. in 2004.

In an announcement ahead of its annual meeting, Couche-Tard said the Mac's name would be fully retired by 2017 in Canada.

The Circle K brand, which is its most widely used store banner, will be rolled out in the U.S. and Europe beginning next year.

 But the company plans to keep its Couche-Tard banner in Quebec.

No job cuts are expected among the approximately 8,000 employees that work at about 800 Mac's stores in Canada, Couche-Tard said. It already operates about 125 Circle K stores in Atlantic Canada.

The change will also see the disappearance of Scandinavia's Statoil store brand acquired in 2012 and The Pantry's Kangaroo Express, bought last year

With files from the Canadian Press