BP to Take Full Ownership of Thorntons

The deal aligns with the energy company’s aim to grow its U.S. fuels and convenience retail business.

July 14, 2021

Thornton's C-Store

HOUSTON—BP is taking full ownership of its Thorntons joint venture to increase its presence in the U.S. fuels and convenience retail industry, acquiring the majority share it does not already own in the Louisville, K.Y.-based convenience retailer from ArcLight Capital Partners LLC.

BP said it plans to retain and build on the Thorntons brand. When the deal is complete, BP will expand its Midwest and Southern footprint with 208 owned and operated locations across six states, including Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.

“We have a proud history of high-quality retail brands across the country. Incorporating Thorntons into our business combines their customer-first culture with our existing U.S. retail network and will help us deliver our convenience strategy of offering customers what they want, where and when they want it,” said David Lawler, chairman and president of BP America, in a press release.

Convenience retail is evolving amid rising demand from consumers with ever-changing needs. Based on Euromonitor analysis, the convenience opportunity will nearly double over the next decade in 45 of the leading economies of the world, growing at more than 5% each year, BP said. BP said this anticipated growth aligns with the strategy its convenience and mobility business, which aims to nearly double global earnings by 2030. The company also looks to increase the number of convenience sites in its global network from about 2,000 today to more than 3,000 by 2030.

“We are committed to putting the customer at the heart of what we do to help accelerate the mobility revolution and redefine the convenience experience at service stations,” said Greg Franks, BP senior vice president of mobility and convenience in the Americas. “Thorntons has generated long-term customer loyalty over the last 50 years because of its best-in-class operations.”

Thorntons’ successful, customer-focused app and digital presence will help enhance the digital solutions needed to develop innovative and personalized offers at the locations now fully owned by BP. This includes high-quality food, loyalty programs and next-generation mobility solutions, including electrification. The deal is expected to close later this year following regulatory approvals and follows Thornton’s 50th year anniversary.

According to the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2020 Data, the convenience industry topped $548.2 billion in sales in 2020. Although total industry sales declined in 2020 because of the pandemic, they had grown 12.5% from 2010 to 2019, with inside sales increasing 32.3% during the same period.

Purchase your digital copy of the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2020 data today. NACS is now in its 51st year of publishing the report, which highlights business-critical categories of finance, store operations, merchandising and fuel sales. The data are also analyzed and presented in a comparative performance quartile format based on store operating profit, which allows you to benchmark and improve your own retail operations by understanding the drivers of key performance metrics.