cigarettes

Meeting the Challenge

Aggressive pricing and eliminating product outages are two keys to maintaining cigarette sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Even as the buzz of e-cigarettes continues to grow, traditional cigarettes remain an essential product for the convenience store industry. However with increasing pressures from government and regulators, cigarette sales continue to decline with seemingly no let

smokeless

Smokeless Sales Stay Strong

Smokeless tobacco remains a robust category amid growing e-cigarette performers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As sales continue to lead the other-tobacco-products (OTP) category ahead of cigars and e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco represents a major opportunity for convenience stores going forward. With cigarette volume declining in c-stores and vape shops stealing business with electronic nicotine devices,

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Training Key to Boosting Accessory Sales

Though the category offers high margins and caters to loyal customers, tobacco accessories often go unnoticed by store employees. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Lighters, rolling papers and e-cigarette accessories offer convenience stores the opportunity to upsell customers at the counter. Unfortunately, the large majority of convenience store employees get little to no training when

gum

Getting Gum Back on Track

While it’s still an important category in convenience stores, the bubble has burst on gum sales over the past two years. The good news is manufacturers are doubling down on their efforts to grow the category with new products and better pricing. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Gum continues to prove something of an enigma

smokelesscan

MST Offers Hope for Traditional Tobacco

MST sales remain strong, and analysts are calling for another solid year in 2014 despite regulatory efforts. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor While moist smokeless tobacco (MST) sales are projected to enjoy a strong 2014, possible government legislation and public health campaigns could converge to slow its momentum. To maximize sales now, industry proponents insist

fountain

Growing the Dispensed Beverage Business

Whether it’s partnering with a buying group or negotiating a better contract on your own, fountain sales offer unprecedented profit potential. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Getting the best price possible at the soda fountain can be crucial to a convenience store operator’s profitability. That is what executives at Phillips 66 had in mind recently

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Catering to Your Candy Customers

Americans are eating more chocolate, which means the time has come for retailers who haven’t already done so to rethink, revamp and restock their chocolate sets. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Americans love candy, but maximizing sales from this complex, yet essential category takes focus and attention. Melding new products and line extensions with must-have

candy-cigarillos

Building a Better Cigar Business

Tracking the trends and stocking more flavored products can help convenience stores boost overall tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Delighted with cigars’ popularity growing among consumers, convenience store operators are taking steps to maximize sales and satisfy customers even as they keep a wary eye on federal and local regulations that could impact

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Healthy Fare Drives Roller Grill Flair

To keep up with the ever-changing tastes of a wide-variety of palates the roller grill is becoming more important than ever for driving sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor When it comes to foodservice, convenience store operators often find themselves wedged unfairly between a rock and a hard place. Consumers want to indulge in food

Tax On Beer Considered To Help Pay For Health Care

Crafting a Winning Beer Strategy

While the economic downturn has affected consumer spending across many sectors, craft and craft-style beers are defying recessionary trends with an impressive upward trajectory.By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Keeping tabs on ever-changing consumer preferences is part of the day-to-day routine for convenience store retailers. And when it comes to beer, preferences change from store to

tobacco

OTP Sales Remain Strong

Smokeless tobacco products have become increasingly important to the U.S. tobacco industry, which is seeking to push more of these products as Americans smoke fewer cigarettes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With traditional cigarettes under fire on several fronts, convenience store retailers rightly view smokeless tobacco as an important part of the future of their

beef-jerky

Enhancing Meat Snack Sales

As customers continue to crave variety and new taste profiles, meat snacks manufacturers are staying on their toes, and providing c-stores with a range of new options to keep shoppers coming back for more. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. When Americans want to snack, nothing holds them back. Time constraints paired with consumer demand for

prepaid

Boosting Revenues with Prepaid Cards

The total dollars loaded into the prepaid category will climb to $672 billion over the next three years, according to Mercator Advisory Group, with convenience stores in particular the fastest growing segment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The open-loop prepaid card market has been growing, driven by the cash-access and government categories. But as with

cigars

Building Your Cigar Business

Despite a demand from adult consumers, retailers are continually forced to defend their right to sell flavored cigars responsibly. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Lawmakers in Washington, DC, and in all 50 states are eyeing cigars and, to a lesser degree, electronic cigars, not only as potential sources of additional revenue but, in many cases,

rollergrill

Diversifying the Foodservice Offering

Taking steps to promote innovative products and value pricing can elevate the whole roller grill experience to drive new sales.  By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience store operators looking to spice up their roller grill offerings have more tools at their disposal than ever before, including the weather, as autumn spurs consumers to seek hot,

An Electronic Cigarette Is An Anti Smoking Health Device

Smokeless Tobacco Earning Extra Display Space

While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention, moist smokeless sales are chugging along with brisk sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience stores have a significant opportunity to target consumers in overlapping tobacco segments, such as converting cigarette smokers over to moist snuff or cigars. Experts expect this group to increase moist smokeless

Customer

Marketing to Hispanic Customers

According to The NPD Group, Hispanics in the U.S. are more likely to purchase groceries, dairy and bread from convenience stores than non-Hispanics. What are you doing to cater to this growing consumer base? By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Marketing to Hispanics is just like marketing to any other ethnic group, which is what can

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Growing Your Car Wash Business

Location, appearance and service are among the most important factors to consider when building and operating car washes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Getting the most out of a car wash operation is no different than getting the most out of any profit center a convenience store offers to the public. It hinges on two

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Training Employees to Succeed

At first glance, one might think investing in employee training during economically challenging times would be counter-intuitive because it requires a significant monetary investment. The truth is training must be an ongoing priority in any retail business. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Building a sense of teamwork among store employees will make them more productive,

HBC

Demand Grows for HBC

From single-serve cold medicines to hair care products, the health and beauty category is attracting new customers of all ages. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package

smokelesstobacco

Smokeless Tobacco Earning Extra Display Space

While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention in c-stores, sales of moist smokeless are chugging along. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience stores have a significant opportunity to target consumers in overlapping tobacco segments, such as converting cigarette smokers over to moist snuff or cigars. Experts expect this group to increase moist smokeless

beverage

Driving Frozen Beverage Sales

Convenience store operators who are cashing in on frozen dispensed sales are combining new and exciting flavors with popular promotions, good equipment maintenance and a strong foodservice offering. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Frozen beverages are widely regarded as a high-growth category, and convenience store operators looking for more of a good thing are complementing

chicken

Chicken Takes Flight at C-Stores

Overall poultry sales continue to experience strong growth as retailers look to boost their menus with healthy items that offer flexibility and value.By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. What’s not to like about chicken? Americans love it for its taste, variety, healthfulness and price, and c-store operators like that it is versatile—think sandwiches, wraps, salads, tenders

Gluten-Free-Beer-Bratwurst

Elevating Your Foodservice Strategy

Emerging competition from nontraditional operators like food trucks means c-stores must raise their game when it comes to the all-important food category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Foodservice continues to serve as a key point of differentiation for convenience stores. Keeping the menu fresh requires innovation as well as a keen eye for new products

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What Your Cigar Customers Want

Whether it’s flavored products or low-cost brands, OTP customers remain among the most loyal in the store. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. How much is too much is a fundamental question in retailing, and all the more so when it comes to cigars. With so many new products, flavors and line extensions to choose from,

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