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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

BEERCANS

Game Day at 7-Eleven

This spring, 7-Eleven rolled out its own private label premium beer called Game Day, which is produced by City Brewing in LaCrosse, Wis. Executives figured that “since brands are weaker at that price segment they can capture the full margin rather than pay a premium to a supplier,” according to Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business

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Building Beer Sales

Larger, single-serve packages are increasing in popularity as customers are trading  down to save money. While some Americans hit hard by the recession are drinking less but better, others are opting for cheaper brands, while still more are selecting single beers instead of packs and taking a long look at craft beers, which some see

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Staying Focused on Frozen

With margins from tobacco and fuel lagging, frozen beverages have stepped up as a pleasant surprise for retailers—whose goal now is to keep the momentum going. “It’s really a growth category for us, even though it has not been something we’ve spent a lot of time on in the past,” said Jennifer Vespole, senior category

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The Future of Cigarette Retailing

With graphic new warning labels destined for individual packages and higher tobacco prices, retailers are facing a harsh new reality. On November 10, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled 36 graphic warning label images, one of which will be selected to go on every cigarette package no later than Sept. 22, 2012.

Bottled Water Bouncing Back

Bottled water’s bubble may have burst the past couple of years, but retailers with private label water have done just swimmingly, and retailers are optimistic that the next 12 months will be equally strong. The packaged beverages subcategory enjoyed decades of growth, as consumers increasingly chose refreshment that fit their healthier lifestyles. From 1984 to

Lighting the Way to Profitability

Lighters can be an afterthought. There are relatively few manufacturers, everyone merchandises them near the front counter, liability issues have cut down on cheap products and differentiation is only skin deep. But even given the limited number of companies supplying products, lighters produce an excellent margin—between 40% and 60%—and sales have been steady for the

Outlook Strong for Salty Snacks

The recession of the past couple of years has not swayed consumers from their salty snack habits. In almost every type of data, salty snacks continue to thrive. According to NACS’ 2010 State of the Industry report, convenience store salty snack sales climbed 3.4%, while margin dollars climbed 4.8%. Since 2007, sales of salty snacks

Elevating Snack Sales

The weak economy has not taken much of a bite out of meat snack sales. Americans are loathe to sacrifice edible indulgences, even in times of financial crisis. All three NACS snacks categories—salty, packaged sweet and alternative—showed increases in average sales per store from 2008 to 2009, and showed gross-margin percentage and average gross-margin-dollar-per-store gains.

Growing Milk and Dairy Sales

Milk’s Bumpy Ride   In Mintel International’s new “Milk in the U.S.” report, senior analyst David Browne predicted a “bumpy ride” for the $11-billion milk market. Few categories, he noted, are as volatile as milk, which is reflected in the wild dollar sales swing during 2004-09.   “Volatility may return to the market in late

Dispensed Beverage Sales Show Promise

Cold and frozen beverages continue to be a mainstay of the convenience store offering—something consumers expect, enjoy, and increasingly want to tailor to their own individual tastes. Others have noticed. McDonald’s, for example, is making smoothies and other cold beverages part of its strategy for expanding its beverage offerings. Beginning in March, the burger giant

Sweetening Cigar Sales

Small filtered cigarellos represent a real albeit temporary opportunity for convenience stores to rack up sales, so get going before the window of opportunity slams shut. These diminutive cigars have gained strong appeal among smokers laboring to afford cigarettes in the wake of multiple tobacco tax hikes. The price differential between filtered cigars and cigarettes

Coffee’s Popularity Surges

You wouldn’t think something as simple as coffee could prove to be so complex a phenomenon—or one so indispensable to Americans. Turns out America can see its reflection in a cup of coffee—its economic worries, its desires for variety and small-scale luxury, and even its hopes for a brighter future. All of that swirls together

Strengthening Safe Security

Cash control practices are an essential part of any c-store operation—from having a cash management system in place to training employees in proper security protocol in everyday cash handling and in the event of a robbery. But more often than not, it’s in-house theft that c-stores need to be most vigilant about. “If you have

Maintaining Strong Smokeless Sales

The slew of new regulations governing the sale of tobacco products has convenience store operators scratching their heads and wondering where the next assault will come from and what to do about it. For example:• The federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act) went into effect on June 29, 2010. Its goal is to

Other Tobacco: Find the Right Mix

Few product categories are as dynamic as tobacco—or as controversial—which helps make managing the set all the more interesting. With so many new products, flavors and line extensions to choose from, some operators say they are frankly overwhelmed, a state of affairs that has never been good for anyone’s bottom line. Keeping sets fresh—allocating shelf

Energizing a Crowded Cold Vault

Energy by the Numbers Although 2009 was the second year in a row of unusual weakness in liquid refreshment beverages’ performance, the worst may be over, said Michael Bellas, chairman and CEO of Beverage Marketing Corp. “Beverages are likely to be one of the first categories to benefit with a job-led economic recovery because they

Forecast Strong for Cigars

Amid all the chaos of legislation, regulation and taxation, it’s good to have tobacco category managers like Gate Petroleum’s Matt Hieb. Hieb’s approach to his chain’s market-leading cigar performance is calm and measured, driven by data, common sense and manufacturer promotions. In 225 locations throughout six southeastern states, Gate’s cigar offering exceeds the southeast market

Managing Tobacco’s Four Tier War

A Closer Look at Who’s Trading Down According to Mintel International, 80% of smokers polled said it’s worthwhile to have a quality cigarette, which is contributing to sales of premium cigarettes. Other factors influencing sales include: • 51% of smokers have one preferred brand they always like to buy. • Less than 2% of smokers

Seizing Smokeless Opportunities

Just when you think you know everything about the mercurial business of tobacco, a bit of trivia comes along that gets your attention. Distributors and retailers have had reams of information to study in the past two years as major changes in legislation, taxation and consumer habits have forced domino-effect adjustments. Manufacturers, chain executives, category

A Rocky Ride for RYO

Proper Handling Quality counts—especially with tobacco, something c-store operators had better keep in mind. Kevin Paige, owner of three Butthead’s Tobacco Emporiums in Danbury, Conn., said he is trying to distance himself from the c-store channel when it comes to tobacco. “Although I operated my own c-stores for over 20 years, I don’t think the

Xtra Mart Adds DVD Kiosks

Some 80 Xtra Mart c-store locations are adding NCR’s Blockbuster Express-branded kiosks, which allow customers to rent DVDs with no membership required. Customers use their credit card at the machine and are charged $1 per night until they return the DVD to any Blockbuster Express kiosk-not just the kiosk where they rented the DVD. The

Raising the Bar on Snack Sales

Energy bars are most often associated with top athletes and endurance sports. But as consumers have found themselves pressed for time—and energy—the category has morphed into an array of tasty, low-cost products that provide a quick meal solution across multiple dayparts. More importantly, the category has evolved to include a multitude of variations from healthy

Maximizing Candy and Gum Sales

What’s Coming? Thinking about a planogram refresh in candy? The National Confectioners Association (NCA) in Washington, D.C. advised that the category is taking a turn toward the upscale. “There is a big gourmet boom. I think we’re also going to have a ‘chocolate-covered’ category made up of things you don’t normally see covered in chocolate,

Finding Profits with Tobacco Accessories

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates, scheduled to go into effect on June 22, prohibit retailers from selling cigarettes and smokeless products in self-service displays except in age-restricted stores that ban customers younger than 18 years of age. While retailers in some states, such as New York and Idaho, have already had to comply with

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