gastypes

Effectively Managing the Fuel Market

As gasoline prices trend upward, retailers are struggling to stay competitive on price while protecting their margin. By John Lofstock, Editor. The cost of fuel has been roaring up and down like a rollercoaster, and so has the risk to retailers when purchasing fuel in large quantities. Fortunes can be made by accurately predicting which

Is Big Oil Losing its Drawing Power?

For many, many years the power of the Big Oil brands was indisputable. They owned the refineries, the stations and the credit card networks to boot. While my father was an Exxon dealer and jobber for more than 30 years I distinctly remember seeing Shell and Texaco credit cards lying around the house. In those

fuelpump

Wholesale Gasoline Costs Surge ahead of Irene

Gasoline suppliers and schedulers were busy in front of the last weekend in August making preparations for a massive Hurricane Irene, with worry that the storm would trigger extended outages at regional refineries, pipelines and barge deliveries in the New York Harbor—the delivery location for the New York Mercantile Exchange RBOB gasoline futures contract. Pipeline

cigarettes

FDA Retail Inspections to Begin in Three States

The FDA has awarded a contract to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to begin conducting FDA sponsored retail compliance inspections, according to the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO). Also, renewal contracts for the state compliance inspections were awarded to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the Colorado Department of Public

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Updated: Gulf Returning to its Retail Roots

The iconic fuel brand is expanding into new markets with a fresh image and a renewed focus on operations. By John Lofstock, Editor. There was a time several decades ago when Gulf wasn’t just a downstream oil company—it was an integrated powerhouse with operations across several continents, from upstream to downstream, and with a heavy

Saluting the Thorntons Team

By John Lofstock, Editor. August is typically one of my favorite issues of the year because it gives us here at Convenience Store Decisions an opportunity to give something back to the industry for its tremendous support throughout the year. In August we announce our annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year, and this year

frozen

Frozen Beverages Appealing to Younger Consumers

New products, flavors and sweeteners have helped energize sales. ew market research from Y-Pulse LLC shows that today’s preteens and teens are interested in more sophisticated and trendy beverages, including those served up in convenience stores and even their school cafeteria. In a recent online survey, Y-Pulse asked middle and junior high school students to

tops-markets

Tops Markets Selects Partners with Retalix

Tops Markets LLC, a 132-store grocery chain based in Williamsville, N.Y., has selected Retalix’s StoreLine point-of-sale (POS) software application to lower the cost of ownership and increase the functionality of its front-end operations. Mike Metz, vice president of information technology at Tops, said he was looking to upgrade its legacy POS software as part of

employeesLARGE

Can Unionization Affect Your C-Store Business?

Proposed changes by the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board could drastically change how employers interact with their workforce. Recently, both the Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced proposals to change rules that could have significant impact on employers. Both sets of proposed changes are consistent

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

There was a time in the convenience store industry when being a great marketer was enough to have a successful business. Unfortunately, being a successful convenience store retailer these days means that not only do you have to outperform your competition, but you must also satisfy federal regulators. The convenience store industry is used to

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Improving Retail Retention

In a down economy, employees have fewer job opportunities, but retailers would be remiss to overlook company morale simply because employees have fewer options. By John Lofstock, Editor. We live in a 24/7 stressful society, filled with uncertainty in the job market, the economy, competition, etc. A large percentage of employees admit to being unhappy

exxonweb

ExxonMobil to Pay $1.5 Billion For Gas Station Leak

Exxon Mobil is being ordered to pay more than $1.5 billion in damages to 160 families and businesses affected by a 2006 gasoline leak in Maryland, The Huffington Post reported. Jurors awarded more than $1 billion in punitive damages on Thursday, after earlier awarding $495 million in compensatory damages. The award in Baltimore County Circuit

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Serving Today’s Students

The Rochester Institute of Technology’s Global Village has earned accolades for its new convenience store, restaurants and international flavor. By John Lofstock, Editor. Long known for its high academic standards, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can add award-winning convenience store retailer to its impressive list of accolades. After nearly three years in the planning

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Focusing on Foodservice

Burgers, brats and sausages continue to drive sales among core convenience store customers. By John Lofstock, Editor. While customers may say they want healthy and organic foods, a Technomic report found that 91% of consumers said they eat a burger at least once a month and 44% have a burger at least once a week.

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Serving Today’s Smokers

Led by the Gallagher family, Smoker Friendly continues the fight to sell tobacco legally and responsibly. By John Lofstock, Editor. While the federal government seems intent on eliminating tobacco products altogether, tobacco remains a legal product in the U.S. enjoyed by legal-aged adults exercising their right to smoke, dip or chew. The right to enjoy

dollarcig

Maintaining Cigarette Sales

Despite taxation and regulation, convenience store retailers remain optimistic about this lucrative category, though a potential ban on menthol products is looming. By John Lofstock, Editor. In an era in which the sports page sounds like the business page, talk of selling cigarettes inevitably sounds like political rhetoric. When c-store operators talk cigarettes these days

Applauding Industry Leaders

By: John Lofstock, Editor. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Those words are about as chilling to convenience store retailers as Navy SEAL Team 6 is to terrorists. But this is the new reality for all marketers of tobacco. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants convenience store retailers to think otherwise.

chiksalad

Poultry Fuels Healthy Food Sales

Whether it’s sandwiches, wraps or salads, chicken’s flexibility allows for a variety of healthy menu options. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience stores are going fresh and healthy, but not quickly enough for consumers, a new research report suggests. Convenience stores have been a growing outlet for produce, but consumers want more. More than half (52%),

fuelpumpWEB

Gas Prices Rising After Slumping to Five-Week Low

Climbing wholesale gasoline costs are poised to push higher the U.S. regular grade retail gasoline average when the Energy Information Administration releases its survey results for May 31 from a five-week low of $3.849 gallon set on May 23, reversing two consecutive weeks in which the average fell by nearly 12 cents per gallon. The

smokeless-tobacco

Cornering the Smokeless Tobacco Market

Keeping sets fresh—allocating shelf space, rotating product, keeping tabs on expiration dates and weeding out slow sellers in favor of new items—is the key to maintaining strong sales. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience store operators are enjoying the growing popularity of smokeless tobacco products, but they are also being forced to keep a wary eye

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Agriculture Secretary Pushes E85 at a Thorntons in Tenn.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of moving toward a clean energy economy and breaking the country’s unsustainable dependence on foreign oil while visiting a Thorntons convenience store that markets E-85 fuel. “Flex-fuel pumps give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels,” Vilsack said. “The Obama Administration is working to transform

conphil

ConocoPhillips Joins Kickback’s Coalition Loyalty Program

ConocoPhillips today reported that it has joined the Kickback Points Coalition Loyalty Program. This compelling program will offer Phillips 66, Conoco and 76-branded retailers a turnkey and cost effective loyalty solution. Participating consumers can earn and redeem points instantly for fuel and merchandise purchases at participating Phillips 66, Conoco and 76-branded sites as well as

Serving the Industry

There is more pressure than ever on convenience store chains to not only exceed customers’ expectations, but to stay ahead of the competition, navigate legislative issues and still be good corporate citizens in the communities they serve. This doesn’t even take into account managing operations, training employees and developing a strategy to grow the business.

cigarettes

Complying with Cigarette Sales Restrictions

As the noose tightens on menthol products, convenience store retailers are learning to accept the latest limitations placed on tobacco products. By: John Lofstock, Editor. Cigarettes will soon carry new warning labels as the question for retailers becomes how to market a product whose package basically urges consumers not to buy it. Federal legislation handed

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The Growing Demand for Fresh Foods

In today’s health-conscious world, convenience stores are expanding their menus to include more healthy snacks and meals. By: John Lofstock, Editor. While cash-strapped consumers are cooking at home more often to help ease tight budgets, a new study by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) found that these shoppers are on the lookout for

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