Moving Over to the Dark Side

Chocolate may be bringing up the rear of America’s upscale revolution, but consumers and a growing number of c-store operators aren’t complaining. Higher-priced, better quality chocolates are finding acceptance on more store shelves all the time–great for consumers and great for operators’ bottom lines. Resistance to the higher price points will fade in time as

Driving the Dairy Business

Convenience store operators nationwide are grappling with nearly unprecedented food inflation, particularly involving bakery and dairy products, that is sending tremors throughout the retail supply chain. Recent price volatility fueled by a weak dollar, rising energy costs, consumer wariness, competitive pressure and other factors is making it difficult to market staples like bakery and dairy

Saluting Supplier Partners

Retailers may be on the front lines every day, but the presence of their supplier partners is palpable. It can be seen and felt in the marketing and merchandising found at the store level and in the intricate planograms category managers use to set their stores. To get a better feel for the supplier companies

Retailers Salute Their Leading Suppliers

espite the much-ballyhooed growth of chains like Walgreens, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wal-Mart, it is convenience stores that remain an important daily stop for the nation’s busy consumers. As a result, convenience stores represent a powerful sales opportunity for product and service supplier companies. CSD set out to find the industry’s top performers as identified

Nutty About Seeds

C-store customers are discovering what Native Americans learned thousands of years ago: A handful of nuts or sunflower seeds can satisfy hunger and boost energy reserves without risking adding excess body fat—and researchers have found that people who include nuts and seeds in their diets lower their risks for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Though

Clearing a Crowded Cold Vault

Energy drinks and isotonics are following two increasingly divergent paths, just part of the fast-paced beverage category about which convenience store operators are spending more time planning than ever before. The crazy-quilt influx of new brands, products, line extensions, flavors and varieties is jamming cooler doors and sales floors, and calling for some hard choices.

Tax Debate Swarms Bottled Water

It’s back to the barricades once again for the convenience store industry, which—as in the past—is being targeted by environmental special interest groups and revenue-hungry legislators. This time they’re focusing on bottled water containers. Bottled water remains a tremendously popular and trendy product category, which is just what attracted the attention of these two groups

Building New Relationships

Anyone who’s been in the industry as long as Dennis Lane is more than supremely qualified to help other retailers cope successfully with the changing c-store landscape. Lane—who was elected last November to head the 2,000-member National Coalition of 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association after serving for the past several years as vice chair of merchandising

7-Eleven Embraces Nutritional Snacks

At a time of year when people are focused on health and fitness, 7-Eleven Inc. is adding three more sensible snacks for the “on-the-go” crowd–Weight Watchers snack cakes and muffins, LARABAR all-natural raw food bars and, in March, its own proprietary MEGA protein bars. Approximately half of all Americans entered 2008 resolved to do something:

A [Private] Affair

More. That’s what convenience store customers can expect to see of private-label brands–and what convenience store operators need to do in order to make those brands successful. The costs are too low, opportunities to build brand equity and loyalty too high, quality is rising too quickly and the benefits are too numerous for retailers with

Private Label Case Study: Tesco

Jim Hertel, the senior vice president of retail consultant Willard Bishop, spotlights international retailer Tesco PLC’s Fresh & Easy concept, which at presstime had been rolled into eight stores in Phoenix, with 26 more planned. Hertel noted that Tesco’s use of private label brands "turns a lot of conventional wisdom upside down. Many food retailers

It’s All About New

Frequent new product launches have become de rigueur in the world of retailing, with customers expecting new product introductions on a regular basis. “Convenience customers love new items,” said Bill Tencza, senior category manager at Quick Chek, a chain with more than 100 stores in New Jersey and Southern New York. “And our customers look

Making It in the Marketplace

Driving business with new products is hardly a novel idea, but it’s also one that convenience store retailers rarely use to their advantage, said David Bishop, a partner with research and consulting firm Willard Bishop in Barrington, Ill. When retailers actively participate in the process of bringing a new product to the marketplace by helping

Identifying More Effective Profit-Building Strategies

“In a business like cigars, where unit volume is growing 10% plus year-over-year, emerging strategic thinking in convenience retail suggests that retailers can grow even faster by employing a “price-for-volume” strategy for key products.” David Bishop, partner, Willard Bishop This summer, we examined how convenience retailers could manage the cigar category differently to realize above-market

ten ways to help your employees get it done every day

Companies frequently develop vision and mission statements about being number one in their industry, the great service they provide to customers, and their rewarding work environment. Yet more often than not, these statements are so far from reality that they become joke fodder for customers and employees alike. It doesn’t have to be this way,

indulging new demographics

Research by Mars Snackfood U.S. shows retailers can attract a broader base of consumers with an emphasis on new and premium products. The female customer today makes approximately 85% of allconsumer purchases, so it’s no wonder that convenience storeowners are among the many retailers eager to cater to thisemerging customer base. Traditionally focused on male

retailing for the future

Independent conveniencestore and gas station operator VERC Enterprises named DaveProler to the position of districtmanager, covering six of the company'slocations from Berlin, Mass. to Nashua,N.H. Proler has two years experiencefrom Greenfield, Mass.-based SandriSunoco Fuels, where he learned valuable skills as a district manager thatwould benefit him greatly in his newposition with VERC. Prior to entering

packaged promotional punch

A new Coke program is helping smaller retailers compete with—and even overtake— their more powerful counterparts. The Coolers in Convenience stores today are a great deal different than they were 20 yearsago. While carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) used to hold the top spot, they’veslowly given way to energy drinks, bottled water, enhanced waters and teas.

taming the morning rush

A solid bakery program is key for building breakfast daypart sales. Two chains discuss how they are able to satisfy consumers while simultaneously enhancing their coffee programs. While Starbucks was a rude awakening for the convenience industry, competition formorning traffic has further increased as quick service restaurants and fast feeders, like McDonald’s, have begun offering

innovation driving adult beverages

Summer is quiCkly approaChing, bringing withit relaxed nights on the porch, trips to the beach andweather hotter than the grill at a Fourth of July barbeque.To complement their fun in the sun, customers want to wrap their hands around a couple of cold ones, and they will becounting on their local convenience store to satisfy

the other tobacco product

Boosted by new flavors and additional varieties, cigars continue strong incremental sales growth. While tobacco has long been a backbonefor the industry, pulling millions in individualunit sales as well as boosting the profit from theaverage smoker’s market basket, it has not come without its problems. Consistent tax increases and society’s dour view on cigarette smoking

moist smokeless taxation

Weight-Based Taxes Level the Playing Field and Preserve Retailer Profits By Robert L. Shepherd with Shepherd, Williams & Associates LLC Without question, moist smokeless tobaccois a profitable, growing and dynamic category.However, category and retail profits are at risk due to customer down-trading from premium to price-value products.Opponents of weight-based taxes have done much to muddy

mst taxation myth vs reality

Ad valorem state taxation maintains a growing and competitive marketplace for moist smokeless tobacco. by Joseph R. Augustus, Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Swisher International Inc. Tobacco Taxation Counterpoint — This is the second of a two-part series on smokeless tobacco taxation.Part one ran in the Dec. 2006 issue of Convenience Store Decisions.

cashing in

Putting flow first fuels success. In a fiercely competitive world where declining fuelmargins are forcing companies to find new ways toincrease the bottom line, can small and mid-sizedconvenience store chains stay ahead of the game? According to Jeff Morris, president and CEO of Alon USA, theycan—provided they manage cash and credit wisely, make a pointof

beers back

Study signals strong 2007 Super Bowl sales. The primacy of beer—temporarily lost when Gallup’s2005 poll of alcohol sales and drinking habits showedwine sales ahead of beer for the first time—has beenrestored. The 2006 Gallup poll, released in late July, showedthat brew is back as the top alcoholic beverage in both volume and dollar sales. Forty-one

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