a partner you can trust

In the battle to be the first to market with new products,retailers face fierce competition from other industryoperators and cross-channel marketers. Despite the battle for that share of wallet, chains have come to depend ontheir distributors and wholesalers for the information theyneed to make smart business choices.

What is important for convenience store owners toremember is that your wholesalers can't make all the decisions for you. They have other retail clients, equallyimportant as you in their eyes, that need to be served. Sothey do the honorable thing: They make the most up-to-date sales data and information available to you and offertheir years of experience as a guide to help you marketyour stores.

How you choose to utilize this information is ultimatelyyour choice, and it's often the difference between strongsales gains and mediocrity. The lesson here is to selectpartners you can trust, and not just trust when times aregood. Seek an ally you know will have your back whentimes get rough.

Take Sam Anderson, vice president of store operationsfor Pump n Pantry in Montrose, Pa. The company hasgrown to 16 stores and credits increased same-store salesfor contributing to its growing store count. Aiding thatgrowth has been its distributor, McLane.

Despite his positive experiences with McLane,Anderson explains in this month's cover story how hemakes the industry's largest distributor work for his business. "Every time the contract needs to be renewed, Ireview four wholesalers based on three qualities: technology, personal support and price," he said. "McLane comesout the best every time."

The RFP process is by no means a slight to McLane orany of the other distributors Pump n Pantry reviews. It's asmart businessman making the best decision for his company based on his short- and long-term goals. Are youdoing the same?

What's Selling
In its quirky new report "America by the Numbers,"Time magazine found that consumer spending powers 70%of the U.S. economy, and the good news for conveniencestore owners is just how much we spend on consumableitems.

Beverages seemed to be among the predominate itemson the list, beginning with the morning daypart and spanning late into the evening. For example, U.S. consumersbuy 234,586 cartons of Tropicana Pure Premium (no pulp)orange juice every day. Starbucks daily sells an amazing 153,424 pounds of coffee.

Pepsi topped the carbonated beverage category selling areported 50,051,507 12-oz. cans daily. Close behind is BudLight, of which Americans buy 35,079,448 12-oz. servingsevery 24 hours. With an estimated 300 million Americans,that means on average one in every 8.5 Americans drinksa Bud Light every day. That may explain the midtermelections, but does nothing to explain why so many peopleare so uptight. By comparison, Aquafina sells 8,179,726bottles of water on a daily basis.

And that health food craze the mainstream media keepstalking about? Fugetaboutit. While Americans appear tobe fighting the good fight to keep the weight off, they'relosing… badly. Consumers buy an average of 87,431 multi-packs of Slim-Fast shakes every day. Burger King, however, has achieved cult status. Americans buy 2.4 millionWhoppers every day. And BK consumers appear to havefound something to wash the hamburger taste from theirmouths: Krispy Kreme! The pastry company sells 1.9 million glazed doughnuts per day. Others seem to preferTwinkies. Americans buy more than 500,000 of theHostess treats every day.

Lagging behind Burger King is Domino's. The pizzadelivery chain, which provides the Bud Light drinkers easyaccess to food without having to get behind the wheel,sells 536,000 pepperoni pizzas daily.

Despite the fast food craze, appearance still matters.Dove sells 1.8 million bars of its Beauty soap and Axemoves 28,876 cans of its Phoenix body spray every day.Men's Rogaine 5% Solution is purchased by 3,160 consumers daily. Now these seem to be having a positiveimpact on our daily lives. Americans are buying 123,287Trojan Ultra Thin condoms each and every day. But in acruel twist of fate, 14,100 First Response pregnancy testsare plucked from shelves on a daily basis, along with300,000 multi-packs of Pampers. So much for falsepositives.

In an entirely unrelated statistic, 34 Porsche 911s arepurchased daily (at an average price well north of $80k)reminding me that I'm far more likely to contribute to thenational economy by purchasing Rogaine and KrispyKreme than a German sports car.

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