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09/01/2021

Alimentation Couche Tard hopes COVID vaccine promotion will mitigate Delta challenges

Brian Hannasch

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. hopes that its promotion of COVID-19 vaccines for employees will help the convenience store retailer to mitigate some of the challenges from the Delta variant.

The Quebec-based company has mandated vaccines for office workers and pushed education about vaccines that has allowed its overall vaccination rates to be above the general population in most of its markets.

However, the Delta variant has magnified a difficult staffing environment, particularly in southern U.S. states such as Texas, Florida and the Carolinas.

Chief executive Brian Hannasch told analysts ahead of the company's annual meeting that he had been optimistic that the pandemic would wane, but the recent rise of the variant is impacting its supply chain and compounding labour shortages especially in the United States.

READ: Couche-Tard releases Q1 2022 financials 

He expects the variant will delay many employer return-to-work plans that will hurt its morning commute business.

While traffic patterns are improving, Hannasch says he remains cautious as the variant is impacting many of its U.S. markets while Canada and Europe are not experiencing the same pressure.