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

smoke signals

Besieged by taxes and a decline in gross profit margins, there are signs that import and specialty brands could be the key to tobacco profitability. Though there have been calls by industry expertsfor convenience store companies to reduce their dependencyon cigarettes, the industry overall is becoming more reliant ontobacco sales. The National Association of Convenience

focus on food safety

Just two years after the devastating tomato outbreak at Sheetz, other retailers have benefited from the hard lesson. Any convenience retailer heavily invested in foodservice has to admit their heart dropped when wordspread about the tomato epidemic at Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. A salmonella-tainted shipment of tomatoesled to 400 people getting sick in July 2004,

cigar sales smoking

Retailers report strong sales and profits in OTP boosted by cigars. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2006 State of the Industry (SOI) report, retailers can expect the other tobacco (OTP) category to keep on growing with flavored cigars driving that growth. Cigar sales last year jumped 5.2% and accounted for 30.48% of

ice cold profits

Finding the right ice machine can turn the dispensed beverage business into one red-hot category. Ice and ice delivery is a vital part of a convenience and/or gas store’s inventory. Whether it’s used to complement selfserve beverage systems, for sale as bagged ice or within the store for icing down beverages and food displays, ice

jaded in new jersey

As New Jersey faces its fourth excise tax increase in four years, retailers are watching their dwindling tobacco sales head across state lines. Every state has its own issues to deal with, but it seems that New Jersey has been dealt a particularly difficult hand. “New Jersey is a difficult state for convenience stores to

dipping into new profits

Premium products driving the moist smokeless tobacco business, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco said. An influx of deep-discount products is leading retailers to change the way they merchandise moist smokeless tobacco (MST) products, and experts are concerned that these changes are adversely affecting moist smokeless profitability. As the deep-discount segment has grown in volume, it is compressing

lighting your way to profitablilty

Marketers tend to give a lot of counter space to novelty lighters, but BIC warns that long-term profitability comes from repeat sales of traditional products. That novelty lighter that emits a powerful flame might make for an interesting conversation starter, but it’s not the best way to grow long-term profitability in the lighter category, warns

treats of the trade

When retailers keep a watchful eye on products and utilize their vendor relationships, candy can produce some dandy results. When retailers keep a watchful eye on products and utilize their vendor relationships, candy can produce some dandy results. By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor An entire country may separate Kentucky-based Red Hed Oil Co. and Washington-based

brewing a beer strategy

Regional marketers discuss hot trends in the cold vault. Variety and pricing are the keys to building the beer business, according to a Convenience Store Decisions survey of regional marketers. “We’re seeing strong sales in imports, as well as the flavored alcoholic beverages,” said Doreen Lewis, category manager of beer and wine for Portsmouth, N.H.-based

dipping into new profits

Premium products driving the moist smokeless tobacco business, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco says. An influx of deep-discount products is forcing retailers to change the way they merchandise moist smokeless tobacco (MST) products and experts are concerned that these changes are adversely affecting moist smokeless profitability. As the deep-discount segment has grown in volume, it is compressing

pack outlets

Singles may account for the bulk of a convenience retailer’s packaged beverage sales, but multi-packs represent a home-run growth opportunity as “gateway items” to other impulse purchases. About three years ago, Diane Clark surveyed her market to see her conveniencestore rivals getting aggressive with multi-pack soft drinks: large warm displays,both inside and out. Her 27

a volatile mixture

With gas prices reaching obscene levels, sales of premium cigarettes could suffer in the short term. The past 10 months have been a pretty wild ride for Julie Van Alyea.Van Alyea, retail merchandise manager for Redwood Oil Co. (Santa Rosa, CA),has noticed a significant change in her most important instore category: cigarettes.While she has heard

a bitter taste

’Old Salt’ remains the snack category’s strongest draw, but pre-priced items leave an unpleasant taste in the mouths of many retailers. One Arkansas-based merchant opted to take a leading manufacturer’s brands off its shelves over an inflexible pricing policy. No one is irreplaceable. That’s essentially the message Terry Taylorsent one of the packaged snack category’s

portion potions

America is a nation of dashboard diners. But Americans are taking a more sensible approach to eating on the go, realizing the need to balance convenience with healthy eating, according to On-The-Go Eating: Consumer Mindsets, Menu Trends and Product/Packaging Innovations, a new report from market researcher Packaged Facts. Key trends covered in the report include

cold hard cash

Indiana’s Circle A Food Stores jolts awake its packaged beverage sales with Water is vital to sustain any life, whether it be that of a human, ananimal or a beverage category. Despite a furious wave of new item introductionsin every beverage subcategory, consumers always seem to return to their colorless,odorless and tasteless master. “Our total

Chew on This

Innovation in candy, gum and mints creates big opportunities and even bigger margins for space-challenged category managers. Consumers appear to be shying away from ‘intense’ or ‘extreme’ mints in favor of flavors. Convenience retailers should expect some volatility when it comes to famously unpredictable categories like tobacco and gasoline. But candy? Sweet, innocent candy? In

roll reversal

Eric Dean remembers walking into a store as a child with a note from his mother saying, “Please sell my son a pack of Pall Malls for me.” Things have changed a lot since then. Retailers have become much more responsible, for instance, by taking greater precautions to ensure that tobacco products don’t fall into

a gift horse

Petro Stopping Centers’ new prepaid card programs diversify the chain’s product mix. They also boost sales in the store, at the pump and in the dining room. The rapid transformation of the telecommunications superhighway hasn’t come without its share of potholes, detours and a few roadkill carcasses. Just five years ago, after all, longdistance cards

refreshing sales

New products, new segments and new approaches to merchandising help Alabama’s Shop-A-Snak boost sales and maximize variety in each area of the cooler. Shop-A-Snak Food Mart Inc. made the decision two years ago to wrap its arms firmly around the beer customer. The Birmingham, AL-based chain of 37 convenience stores expanded its mix by increasing

flavor boost

Cigars and moist smokeless tobacco items bearing exotic aromas and tastes account for much of the non-cigarette tobacco category’s recent sales growth. ‘Who would have guessed that apple would be such a strong flavor?" asks Kent Raphael, vice president of merchandising for Village Pantry LLC (Indianapolis, IN). He’s not asking about a hot-selling juice drink

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