SNACKS

A Renewed Interest in Salty Snacks

Emphasizing snacks throughout the day as a meal replacement or an afternoon treat is driving sales across all age groups. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The past year was a strong one for nuts, seeds, crackers, pretzels, popcorn and trail mixes, according to convenience store sales data from SymphonyIRI. The largest of these subcategories, nuts,

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A Retail Oasis

Zarco 66 takes its convenience stores to the next level with technological advancements and a topnotch foodservice program.  By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels doesn’t consider itself just a typical convenience store chain. In today’s hypercompetitive retail environment, it has to be much more.“We’re not in the c-store business anymore, we’re

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Who’s Minding the E-Cigarette Industry?

By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor and John Lofstock, Editor. Should electronic tobacco devices be regulated as tobacco products or are they something completely different? Four new trade associations with varying opinions and agendas guide this booming category. With 3.5 million e-cigarette users and an estimated $1 billion in smoke-free alternative sales, this up-and-coming industry continues

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E-Cigarettes Come of Age

With Big Tobacco now in the game, electronic tobacco products are poised to take an enormous leap forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While some view electronic cigarettes as a threat to the cigarette industry, others see them as a lifeboat of sorts, providing smokers who don’t want to or can’t smoke cigarettes anymore—for a

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Cigarettes Still King

While electronic tobacco products and OTP have experienced sales gains, cigarette sales in convenience stores still accounted for more than $54.3 billion in 2012. By John Lofstock, Editor. Cigarettes have long been a staple at convenience stores, accounting for billions in pack and carton sales and boosting the profits from the average smoker’s market basket.

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Succeeding With Cigars

Taxation and legislation could present a rocky road for cigar manufacturers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Thanks to new flavors and price promotions, cigar sales at convenience stores remain as strong as ever. The cigar category at U.S. convenience stores totaled $2.38 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, up 3.73%, according to

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Accessorizing the Tobacco Section

From lighters to e-cigarette cases, smoking accessories can increase the market basket and drive impulse sales. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. A robust and rotating assortment of tobacco accessories can help solidify your convenience store as a destination for tobacco products, as well as increase interest in the category and grow basket size. While most

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Deals Driving Smokeless Sales

Portion pouches and value pricing are injecting new energy into this core tobacco category. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention, smokeless tobacco sales are chugging along with brisk sales.Overall, smokeless sales jumped 6% to $4.93 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, according to SymphonyIRI

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Retail Improvements with Help From Uncle Sam

The renewed American Taxpayer Act offers some key tax breaks to convenience store retailers through 2013. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor.The so-called “Fiscal Cliff” tax bill enacted last December, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, renewed important tax breaks used by some c-stores to reduce the out-of-pocket expenditures required to keep their business premises fresh and

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Is Your Family Fit to Run the Family Business?

For most family businesses, planning for succession is the toughest and most critical challenge they face. Yet succession planning can also be a great opportunity to maximize opportunities and create a multi-generational institution. By Lois Lang, Contributing Editor.Family-owned businesses remain the backbone of the convenience store industry. Many chains have been successfully passed on from

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Bakery Sales Stay Hot All Day

Keep doughnut and other bakery product displays full and fresh beyond breakfast for maximum profit potential.      By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor.When a client asked convenience store consultant Dean Dirks how he could increase his doughnut sales, Dirks gave him one simple piece of advice: “I told him to keep the display filled with

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ALON Brands Launches Clean 13

Program spurs consumer loyalty while helping community and inspiring store cleanliness among employees. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. ALON Brands is taking its Clean Team program to the next level with a new customer contest and car giveaways. “All major oil brands are pulling back and getting rid of retail locations and turning toward refining

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Freshness, Quality Key to Attracting Foodservice Customers

Whether you are operating a proprietary program or using a third-party supplier, cardboard sandwiches and pizza just don’t cut it with today’s consumer. Dr. Nancy Caldarola, of NACS CAFÉ, offers tips and trends in this  important foodservice segment. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The entry price for a low-grade sandwich might be attractive to some

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Keeping Breakfast Sales Rolling

Convenience store customers are looking for roller grill items in the morning. Are you meeting the demand? By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. One person’s lunch or dinner is another person’s breakfast, so the roller grills at Rutter’s Farm Stores run all day, every day, said Jerry Weiner, the York, Pa.-based chain’s vice president of foodservice.

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Plan to Stay Safe

Cash control programs and effective employee training will help minimize theft and ensure the well being of your employees. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Keeping theft at bay has always been a major concern for c-store retailers. While technology has come to the rescue in the form of safe and cash-management systems, the best way

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Kocolene Shifts with the Times

As the tobacco industry evolves, the convenience store and tobacco shop operator continues to grow to meet its customers’ needs.    By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Kocolene Marketing LLC maintains a booming tobacco business at its  Fast Max convenience stores and Smokers Host Discount tobacco stores, and is implementing a number of IT initiatives to keep

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Growing Gum and Mint Sales

While sales dollars are down, study shows customers continue to purchase gum for numerous reasons, from breath freshening to stress relief. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The gum category has faced an ongoing sales decline since 2010. In 2012, gum saw monthly sales of $954 at convenience stores, with a monthly gross profit of $460,

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Chevron, Safeway Expand Loyalty Partnership

Grocery purchases lead to fuel discounts for customers in three new markets. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. To capture an increased number of fuel customers, Chevron and Safeway have expanded their joint loyalty program to Las Vegas, Northern California and Hawaii.  Customers in these regions can now earn gas rewards when they shop using their

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Understanding Consumers Key to Salty Snacks

Whether it’s embracing healthy snacks or sticking with tried-and-true brands, convenience stores must closely monitor sales data to track what their customers are buying in this important core category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Recent consumer research seems to suggest that many convenience store customers looking to buy salty snacks leave the store empty-handed. Knowing

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The Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know Now

Beginning in 2014, health insurance will be available to individuals and small businesses through state-run “exchanges.”  These will require insurance companies to compete for business in the marketplace. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Now is the time for employers to prepare to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration’s healthcare law

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Chocolate Remains Recession Proof

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) is predicting that 2013 will be a strong year for chocolate in convenience stores. Sales were up 3.3% for the last 52 weeks ended March 24, according to SymphonyIRI. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. In 2012, c-store was the only channel to gain in dollars (2.4%) and units (1.2%) in

Chicken

Diversifying the Foodservice Menu

With beef prices continuing to rise, poultry remains the protein of choice for many Americans. And, with the flexibility of chicken, this means ample opportunity for daypart-spanning sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Since introducing the Charley Bigg’s Chicken and Sauce program into two Friendship Food Stores six years ago and four more two years

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Prepaid Profitability Soars

Today’s card capabilities surpass the features offered by many checking accounts. These features include managing prepaid purchases through mobile devices and social media accounts and the ability to make person-to-person transfers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Prepaid cards can be tied to financial services such as remittance and bill payments, but that may mean competing

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Fifty Shades of Green

Even small, sustainable initiatives can resonate with customers and improve a convenience store’s bottom line. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The verdict is in: A growing number of customers are becoming environmentally-conscious and they prefer to spend their money at stores doing their part to grow sustainability. Retailers across all channels are beginning to cash

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Make Room for Big Data

The increasing volume and detail of information captured by business, the rise of multimedia, social media and the Internet will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future. By Barbara Brynko, Contributing Editor Big data. If you think data is something that only big retailers such as Amazon or Netflix deal with, think again.•

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