Novelty

Inspiring Impulse Sales

When stocking up on novelty items, thinking outside the box can help retailers drive big profits. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Retailers are driving impulse purchases with unique novelty products, including big ticket items, seasonal displays and small ring products that make everyday life more convenient. Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., for example, is making packing easier

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Is $4 Gallon Gasoline Coming to a Station Near You?

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor, Telvent DTN For some, the unpleasant reality of $4 gallon gasoline has already occurred, namely in California, where the Energy Information Administration reported in early April an average price for regular grade gasoline at $4.057 gallon. As of April 4, the EIA pegged the average for Chicago at

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CSD Partners with MSA and Paradigm Sample

In our ongoing effort to provide the most relevant and timely industry data, Convenience Store Decisions has reached a deal to serve as the excusive media sponsor of the new Convenience Consumer Insights Panel (cciPanel) launched last month by Management Science Associates Inc. (MSA) and Paradigm Sample. The cciPanel is the consumer research field’s first

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Raising the Bar on Automotive Accessories

Car care merchandise is delivering incremental sales with the help of private labels and impulse purchases. Customers have long ventured into local convenience stores to grab a bottle of windshield washer fluid or oil for their cars. Years ago, a small display would hold a few bottles of automotive fluids in case of an emergency.

Cutting Down on Cooler Costs

Energy reduction remains an ongoing quest for convenience store operators as they look for ways to cut costs in an effort to improve their bottom lines. Building stores to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and seeking LEED certification is something more chains are pursuing, including Kum & Go, Kwik Trip and Quick

Maintaining Strong Energy Sales

It had to happen sometime. Energy drinks, arguably the most popular convenience store product in the early-to-middle years of the decade, have begun to slow their sharp rise. Call it a correction, perhaps. A report released last month on the category by research firm Mintel showed that while growth in the category from 2005-2010 was

Boosting Bakery Sales

With sales of packaged bakery snacks down, the allure of fresh- or par-baked items can generate revenue in the coming year if c-store operators handle things correctly. Jim Schutz, vice president of people assets for Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin, said his chain has two different bakery offerings, muffins and doughnuts, which are supplied

Tracking the 2010 Fuel Market

Heading into 2010 there seems to be one constant in the energy markets—be it international, domestic, or local—and that is supplies should not be the issue in the New Year. This means that while demand will ebb and flow as it is want to do over the course of the calendar, barring an unforeseen change,

New Regulations on Tobacco from the FDA

Over the past six months since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began wielding its new powers to regulate cigarettes, smokeless and roll-your-own tobacco, the implementation of the law has been anything but smooth. Even though Dr. Lawrence Deyton, the FDA’s new head of the Center for Tobacco Products, announced several times during “Listening

Grocery Sales Going Up

Signs of the Times Overextended and anxious about the economy, consumers are responding to economic pressures by buying less, borrowing less and paying down credit card debt. The amount Americans owe on credit cards and other consumer loans plunged a record $21.6 billion in July, dimming prospects that the budding economic recovery will extend to

Meeting the Demand for Meat Snacks

Meat snack manufacturers are going after the teen demographic, solidifying them as the product’s target audience, and introducing new flavors and varieties to meet the changing needs of consumers. Many retailers agree flavored meat sticks are driving the category. “Flavors products are strong right now whether it’s the hot, teriyaki or the smoked,” said Bill

Legislative Wrap Up for 2009

With the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, this year has seen major federal tax and regulatory legislation signed into law that will dramatically impact the tobacco industry. On April 1, the largest tax increase on a single product in the history of the U.S. became law with the federal cigarette

Make Coffee More Profitable

Tips for Preparing the Perfect Cup • Always use fresh, filtered water. • Always use fresh, whole bean coffee. Coffee is perishable: use within two weeks of roast date. • Store coffee beans in an air-tight container away from heat, light and moisture. No freezer or refrigerator. • Grind just before brewing—a timer will help

Summer Fuel Outlook

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor, Telvent DTN Understanding the market movements for energy commodities in 2009 has become complicated. The old way of looking at the market through the lens of supply and demand seems to hold less relevance. Now, broad-based economic indicators are overruling an inventory buildup or a slump in demand.

Demand Grows for Juices and Teas

Tea Truths The U.S. is the birthplace of iced tea. More than 80% of tea consumed here is still sold as an iced drink. Tea sales in the U.S. are expected to exceed a phenomenal $10 billion in 2010 for both beverage and non-beverage categories, according to Worldteaexpo.com In the U.S., 37% of consumers prefer

Handee Marts Garners Ethics Award

Don’t think customer service makes a difference? Handee Marts’ President and CEO Mike Triantafellou would disagree. Handee Marts, which operates 67 7-Eleven convenience stores in Pittsburgh, was honored recently with the Pittsburgh Business Ethics Award (PBEA), presented by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, in conjunction with the David Berg Center

Concerns Abound Over Food Costs

In today’s struggling economy, more than half (58%) of U.S. consumers are “very concerned” about rising food prices, The Nielsen Co. found in a new survey on consumer purchasing trends. As consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers employ options to manage abnormally high cost increases due to raw material and other expenditures, consumers voiced

Shoppernomics 2.0: The Not-So-Perfect Storm

There’s a host of ingredients contaminating the retail environment these days, with shoppers dogged by rising costs in energy, food and basic necessities. As a result, shopping habits are being radically reshaped in this new and uncertain environment, said Thom Blischok, president of consulting and innovation at Information Resources Inc. (IRI). "We are living in

No Mystery Here: Speedway Voted Best Customer Service

It’s impossible to know if the pool of customers hired by market research firm Corporate Research International (CRI) would have pegged Speedway SuperAmerica LLC as the leader in customer service five years ago. The Enon, Ohio-based marketer wasn’t even among the handful of convenience store chains whose customer service was evaluated quarterly by the research

Consumers Crunch Their Coins

A portrait of 1 in 2 American consumers at the dawn of 2008: cash-strapped, bargain-hungry and fuel-fatigued. So says research by The Nielsen Co., where 49% of U.S. consumers surveyed said they were slicing spending to compensate for rising gas prices. The high price of regular gas in December 2007 was $3.06 per gallon, and

Strong Sales for Candy

Overall retail sales are slowing at mass, dollar and grocery stores, but confectionery sales remain strong for convenience operators. The U.S. retail confectionery category generated approximately $29 billion in sales in 2007 and the profit margin for the category was approximately 35%, according to the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) U.S. Confectionery Market report released last

Getting Back to Beer

America’s changing demographic will continue to add new contours to the beer category, and that has some operators optimistic that beer could experience strong spring and summer selling seasons. The major breweries are expected to introduce products that target health-conscious consumers. For example, SABMiller this month will begin test-marketing its Miller Lite Brewers Collection, consisting

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