Getting Back to Beer Basics

Beer continues to be an essential category for convenience stores and one that requires more than the usual amount of observation, knowledge, planning, execution and overall savvy. According to The Nielsen Co.:• Nearly 787 million cases of beer were sold in the c-store channel during 52-weeks ending March 6, 2010; down 1.5% from 799 million

Energy Sales Hold Strong

Familiarity with shifting consumer attitudes amidst a turbulent economy–and the willingness to make changes in the cooler if need be–could help retailers cash in big with isotonics and energy drinks this year. “If you’re intent on raising your share in that marketplace then I think you have to get in touch with who that user

Marketing the Beverage Bar

While frozen dispensed beverages are not a huge portion of the typical store’s overall sales, the product is proving to be quite profitable, thanks to a gross margin north of 50%. Although the slush-style drink was a c-store original, other retailers recognized its potential, and today, frozen beverages with a variety of names and logos

A Taxing Time for Tobacco

Last year was truly a difficult time for tobacco. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) increased tobacco taxes from a “modest” 158% increase on cigarettes up to a hideous 2,000 plus percentage increase on roll your own tobacco and small cigars. (RYO went from $1.10 per pound to $24.68 and small cigars went from

Sweetening Candy Sales

 Americans’ love affair with chocolate will never end. That said, sales of non-chocolate candy and gum are rising steadily, fueled by the economy and the search for innovative, flavorful new products. “Yes, people are right in calling this a strong category,” said Bill Singer, a principal in Singer’s Chevron Inc. in Walla Walla, Wash. “When

Efficient Exit Strategies Sweeten Candy Profits

Developing an effective exit strategy for candy and reviewing product performance regularly can boost profits in the candy segment. “On a basic level you want to discontinue the slow moving items that rank in the bottom of the category to bring in something new that is going to contribute sales and margins to the category,”

Driving Prepared Food Sales

Inside the Numbers: Rutter’s FARM Stores 200+ Number of prepared food combinations available at any given time. 6 New prepared food items added to Rutter’s menu in February 2010. 5 Prepared food items dropped from Rutter’s menu in February 2010. 20% Store sales from prepared foods in the 37 Rutter’s locations equipped with order kiosks.

Leveraging Loyalty

Reaping Rewards Loyalty marketing programs recognize and reward the best customers of a business. Nearly one-third of U.S. consumers (32.3%) consider their participation in retail rewards programs to be “more important” as they seek to stretch their household budgets in the recessionary economy, according to survey research from Colloquy. In another significant result from its

Convenience Industry Holds Strong

When history looks back on 2009 it will not be generous. The U.S. economy was, and to a certain degree, remains locked in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Unemployment is high and the value of the dollar and consumer spending are at near-record lows. While this is bad, it could have been

Capitalizing on Coffee

Opportunity for Growth 54% of the overall adult population drank coffee beverages daily in 2009. Coffee preparation at home is up five percentage points, with 83% of past-day coffee drinkers reporting that they made coffee at home the day before. 80% of coffee drinkers are doing nothing different despite the economic downturn. 17% are visiting

Cigarettes Still King

State Tax Grab During 2009, cigarette tax increases were defeated in 19 states and passed into law in 12 states. States where cigarette tax increases were not enacted include: STATE Failed TAX Increase in 2009 Alabama 32.5 cents per pack Connecticut 50 cents per pack Georgia $1 per pack Kansas 95 cents per pack over

Competitive Pricing Key to Water Sales

Operators hoping to do well with bottled and flavored waters in 2010 need to understand what both water and bottles mean to today’s consumers. Following a decade of steady growth, bottled water sales in c-stores declined last year as consumer spending lagged due to higher fuel prices and the economic recession. But many retailers and

Lighting the Way

Making money in tobacco accessories—lighters, cigar cutters, humidors, pipes, rolling machines, rolling papers and even hookahs—during the months ahead may not be easy, but it can be done. Three ways to do it: offer novel items, stay on the cutting edge of trends and let customers roll their own. The payoff in 2010 could be

Smokeless Stays Strong

With many states passing smoking bans, more customers are turning to smokeless tobacco, and the sales figures from 2009 bear that out. According to Information Resources Inc., for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 27, 2009 total dollar sales for other tobacco products was $6.07 billion, up 14.6% from last year. Unit sales totaled 2.40 billion,

A Shot of Energy

The “tip of the YEAR” when it comes to selling two-ounce energy shots, said Terry Messmer, merchandise manager for NOCO Express Stores in Tanawanda, N.Y., is to protect margins. “What is happening is that beverage suppliers are very quick to lower the price of the product to get more sales, but we have to still

Protecting Against Theft

RETAIL THEFT 2009 Employee theft accounted for 35.2% of shrink dollars. 41.2% of retailers worldwide experienced a significant increase in shoplifting in 2009, attributable to the economic downturn. Shoplifting and employee theft in the U.S. cost retailers $42.2 billion from June 2008 to June 2009. Every American family was forced to pay an additional $435

RYO Rolls Into 2010

RYO Pounds Sold Per Year Roll your own (RYO) cigarettes is a growing trend. Sales have climbed during the past five years, yet took a dive in 2009 as customers started using pipe tobacco to roll cigarettes as a result of increased taxes. On the other hand, customers used 10.6 million pounds of pipe tobacco

Cold and Frozen Beverages Offer Promise

Inside the Numbers: J&H Family Express Stores 60+% Profit margin on fountain drinks. $5,000 Amount spent on cold and frozen dispensing equipment per store. 10 Stores Scheduled to have cold/frozen equipment upgraded in 2010. 2 Years Anticipated ROI for the beverage units. 10% Projected percentage of store sales from cold and frozen dispensed beverages with

Realizing Prepaid’s Potential

The major prepaid areas c-store retailers are going to want to watch over the next year are general purpose reloadable cards (GPR), both open and closed loop gift cards, and cards for digital media, game and ring tones. The economy especially has spurred the growth of GPR products. “You’re going to see more folks buying

Core Brands Drive Candy

The confectionery retail market grew across all trade channels in 2009, but supermarkets, dollar stores and warehouse clubs outpaced the overall retail market in 2009, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA). NCA also noted c-stores brought in $4.6 billion in dollar sales in 2009, up 3%. Seasonal confectionary sales were up 1.2% in 2009

Brands, Promotions Benefit CSDs

Concern For CSDs 16 million fewer Americans are drinking sugary soft drinks today compared to six years ago (68% of adults versus 76%). 7.8 million switched to diet soft drinks. 24 million have moved to bottled water. 17 million are opting for energy drinks. 11 million have tried sports drinks. 16 percent of Americans are

Putting the Back-Office to Work

Inside the Numbers: Zarco 66 8 Number of stores. $35 million Total annual systemwide revenue. $20,000 Cost of its new POS/back office system on the front end. $70,000 Cost of its new POS/back office system on the back end. 25% Percentage of store sales from foodservice at the chain’s first store with the new system

Customer Surge in Snacking

The dried meat snacks category overall (including jerky) celebrated a healthy 2009 ringing up more $872.48 million in total dollar sales, up about 1% compared to 2008. Unit sales, however, slipped 3% to 424.43 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 27, 2009, according to Information Resources (IRI) . Breaking down the category by segment,

Juices and Teas Bounce Back

Innovation, health and pricing are some of the factors that will help or hinder c-store operators looking to make money with juices and teas in 2010. While juices and teas have struggled over the past few years, 2009 was sort of a renaissance year for the category as both segments experienced sales gains. Overall, for

Raising the Bar on Energy Sales

The first sports and energy bars in the U.S. were marketed primarily to serious athletes, through alternative channels such as health food stores. These bars did not have wide appeal or distribution as recently as 1990, but over the past two decades these products have since gained mass appeal and distribution after greatly improving flavor

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