September 9, 2020
Historically low fuel costs, driven in part by coronavirus-related shutdowns, have been an unexpected benefit for GPM Investments in 2020, just as the seventh-largest convenience store chain in the U.S. prepares to go public.
"We actually like low prices of fuel," GPM Investments CEO Arie Kotler told Cheddar. "As you can imagine, low prices of fuel leave a lot of money in the consumer's pocket, which enables those consumers to come into the stores and purchase more product. We saw a very nice increase basically in our same-store sales because of that."
Consumer patterns have shifted during the pandemic, he added, from big-box to "small-box" stores.
GPM is in the process of acquiring wholesale fuel and retail chain Empire Petroleum, which would bring its total value to $2 billion and make it the country's sixth-largest convenience store chain.
In addition, GPM is set to go public via a special purpose acquisition company called Haymaker.
"Given the current environment, the company’s resilient business model is particularly relevant, the inherent growth drivers extremely compelling, and their disciplined execution commendable," Steven Heyer, CEO and executive chairman of Haymaker, said in a statement.
While the company is a wholesaler of fuel, low oil prices still serve its bottom line.
"We are buying directly from the refiners and selling to the consumers," Kotler said. "As a matter of fact, we like oil prices to be low, to be honest. It's actually helping us tremendously."