Canadian retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard has said that it expects to enter into an agreement to create a joint venture with Shell Oil Products US to operate 100 convenience stores in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.

The deal would see the majority of the 100 outlets operated by Couch-Tard's Midwest Division under the Circle K banner.

Of the 100 convenience stores included in the agreement, 89 are currently operated by their party operators under prior agreements with Shell, including 32 operated under the Circle K banner by Couche-Tard. The remaining 11 locations currently operate as Shell retail marketers under a retail lease agreement.

Under the agreement, the locations would be transferred to the joint venture through a combination of purchased and contributed fee and lease sites.

"Strategically, this acquisition would be a complement to our expansion and growth plans for the Midwest Division. In addition to being an excellent fit within our current operating framework, it would also provide a much larger presence and would allow us to more easily target our growth in the greater Chicago metropolitan area", said Darrell Davis, vice-president operations, Circle K Midwest Division

Shell fuel and branded products would continue to be marketed at all locations.

The transaction is subject to final management approvals of both companies, standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of 2009.