Opportunities Abound

The NACS Show is my annual reminder of just how much innovation exists among the many talented retailers and suppliers I communicate with every day. I expect this year’s show—amazingly the 14th of my career—to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever attended. While the event has so much to offer, a black cloud

Roll-Your-Own Climbs Amid Tax Hit

Mounting cigarette costs are driving smokers to test cost-effective tobacco alternatives, such as roll your own (RYO). The 2009 NACS State of the Industry report, which polled 156 retail firms with 20,553 stores as of December 2008, found that pipe and cigarette tobacco sales had the strongest growth of all tobacco products and were up

Harm Reduction: The Voice of Reason

Despite all the naysayers, safer tobacco products are a reality convenience  store owners should embrace. Great strides have been made within the last year to introduce new tobacco products that would, from my perspective, reduce harm when compared with traditional cigarettes. I must say, though, that I would have never thought the quest for harm

Building a Beer Strategy

Beer sales have held relatively steady despite the economic maelstrom of the past several months, and one reason is that c-stores are asking for help. Operators are seeking and getting assistance of various sorts from their suppliers in an effort to make up for lost dollars. Help is coming in the form of promotional programs

Cigarettes

TOP PERFORMERS Philip Morris USA R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Lorillard Tobacco Co. HONORABLE MENTIONS Commonwealth Brands Inc. Liggett Vector Since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), tobacco taxes and sales from tax-free sources continue to plague the convenience store industry. Cigarettes continue to be the top in-store category based on sales dollars. On a monthly

Turbulent Times for Tobacco

Fasten your seat belts because 2009 will likely be one of the most turbulent years for the tobacco industry in recent memory. The outcome of the federal elections has further cemented Democratic control in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and ushered in a new liberal administration with President-elect Obama waiting to be

Pilot Testing Electronic Smokeless Products

In an effort to boost sales in the smokeless category, Pilot convenience stores in the Knoxville, Tenn., market are testing the Vegas E-cigar, a product manufactured by Minneapolis-based Ruyan America Inc. that looks and feels like a premium cigar, but uses a microchip and nicotine-infused liquid to produce a vapor that provides its user with

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