Archives for February 2009

Pantry Profits Rise With Better Gas Margins

Sanford, N.C.-based Pantry Inc. first-quarter results show the company’s net income is up sharply from the same quarter last year, attributable to declines in oil prices and improved gross margins on gas. Total gasoline gross profit for the quarter was $130.1 million, up sharply from $56.2 million a year ago, with retail gross margin of

Couche-Tard Acquires 13 Quebec Sites

An Alimentation Couche-Tard subsidiary has signed an agreement to acquire 13 stores in Quebec from Exploitation Quali-T Inc., part of Group Therrien. The 13 stores are operated by Exploitation Quali-T under the Pétro-T brand. All the sites sell motor fuel under either the Pétro-T or Esso brands, while four sites have quick service restaurants (two

Hybrid Hunger In Casual

Independent restaurant operators are leading an emerging “kid-adult” fusion trend by promoting adult-style offerings to kids in greater numbers, according to a new report by Chicago-based research firm Technomic Inc. The new menus target kids with smaller portions of premium steaks, fresh fish, locally sourced healthy foods and bolder ethnic flavors that are usually the

2 To Play That Game

Starbucks Corp. is hoping to find some sales salvation in its own value meal variety as McDonald’s continues to make inroads with its new coffee offerings, The Associated Press reported. The coffee tug-of-war has heated up in recent months as McDonald’s began offering new, lower-priced specialty coffee drinks and Dunkin’ Donuts has been advertising value-minded

Fuel Surge

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor for DTN Wholesale gasoline prices moved higher across the U.S. during the final week of January on concerns that supply levels would tighten because of a potential strike by as many as 24,000 union workers at U.S. oil refineries. Even before the Feb. 1 contract deadline, wholesale gasoline

Wawa Store Celebrates 10 Years

A Wawa store in Stafford, Va., doled out free gifts and recognition to loyal customers as it celebrated its 10th anniversary last week, the Stafford County Sun newspaper reported. The store’s Jan. 23 celebration was an all-day event that recognized regular customers for their loyalty and business. It was part of the Year of the

Murphy Express Kicks Off With Discount Gas

A Murphy Express store in Las Cruces, N.M., kicked off its grand opening by offering the "lowest gas prices in the state,” the Las Cruces Sun News reported. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. this past Friday and continuing for 24 hours, Patel said the station sold fuel as low as $1.39 per gallon. Patel couldn’t estimate

ExxonMobil Gives $1.5M To United Way

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced that the company and 650 of its Dallas-area employees and retirees have pledged more than $1.5 million in contributions to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas as a part of the 2008 campaign. ExxonMobil has donated more than $8.7 million to the Dallas-area United way since 2002. In addition to providing

Broaster Boasts Promotions

The Broaster Company Inc. has announced the appointment of Jay Cipra to CEO, as well as a number of other management changes at the Beloit, Wis.-based company. For the past four years Cipra has served as president of The Broaster Company Inc., the parent entity of The Broaster Company LLC. In his new role, Cipra

It’s a Hit

Officials at Monster Energy have set sail on a new venture certain to once again take the energy drink market by storm. Bigger, badder and better tasting– everything you’d expect from the No. 1 energy drink in the U.S.–Monster Energy unveiled its latest offering to the world of instant energy needs: The new Monster Hitman

Getting Cheese

Using its unique category focus and a new approach to create powerful business solutions, the Kellogg Convenience Store Team is excited to launch Cheez-It Duoz baked snack crackers to the salty snack set. With two flavors in one bag, Cheez-It Duoz baked snack crackers offer consumers the tasty crunch and bold flavor combinations they crave,

Marketing the Forecourt

When it comes to convenience stores, every square inch of selling space is precious real estate. And when the inside of a store is fully merchandised, the only place left to go is the forecourt area. Some convenience store retailers have always made good use of the forecourt area—whether or not it featured fuel pumps—to

Pumping Up In-Store Sales

A busy salesman on the way to his next appointment pulls into a Spinx convenience store to fill up his tank. It’s almost 1 p.m. and he hasn’t stopped since his day began just before 9 a.m. While pumping fuel, he glances at the color monitor built into the gas pump. He looks closer at

Securing the Convenience Store

Security remains an ongoing concern for convenience store operators, but new technologies and approaches are offering some great help. And great help is a great asset, because there is a lot of work to be done. Bad economic times mean increases in petty theft at retail. In fact, U.S. retailers lost $34.8 billion in stolen

Trimming the Red Ink

When the economy falls off a cliff like it did in September 2008, is your business going to survive or even thrive? Most companies reacted to the downturn by cutting the usual costs: training, travel, raises, bonuses, headcount and 401(k) matching contributions. The bad news is these kinds of cuts also put employees in a

Maximizing Energy Efficiency

Why waste anything—especially energy? Newer technologies and out-of-the-box thinking are helping trim energy costs, while plain old smart management can bring additional savings. “Most of the time, quite frankly, store operators haven’t even done the most basic stuff that could be saving them quite a bit on operating costs,” lamented John Noel, president of Energy

Smokeless Tobacco Market Includes New Flavor Innovations And Increased Consumer Demand

A perfect storm of societal, legislative, retail and economic factors in 2009 appears poised to push sales of smokeless products—the fastest-growing tobacco category—higher than ever. Convenience store retailers and marketers of such leading brands as Copenhagen, Skoal, Redman, Timberwolf, Kodiak, Red Seal, Rooster, Grizzly, Husky and Longhorn have already seen a flurry of activity on

Meeting the Growing Foodservice Demand

This is what happens: Dad breaks to one side of the store to choose a sandwich from the Hot Spot, which he complements with a cup of hot coffee and a bag of chips.   Mom heads for the cappuccino dispenser, then works her way to a fresh salad kept cool in a temperature-controlled center-island

How Foodservice Impacts Profits

Dennis Peters has no complaints about the proprietary fresh chicken program at two of his 24 Friendship Foods stores in Ohio. It’s popular, it’s profitable and it’s been a proven concept for the past 12 years. Well, maybe there’s one complaint. It’s a little too fresh. Not “peck-you-on-the-hand-when-you-grab-it” fresh, but certainly fresh enough to see

Divine Disruption

Here’s an entirely plausible scenario: At around 8 a.m. on a weekday, customers are lined six deep in front of the only open register at your suburban convenience store. The line has screeched to a halt because a deliveryman running late has flanked the clerk at the register and asked her to sign off on

Pooling for Profitability

Think of Roady’s Truck Stops as the 350-pound lineman of the business world, a far-sighted colossus who plows path after dogged path for teammates who are trying to negotiate that riotous retail gridiron. And then, think of Roady’s President Bob Lee as the head coach, sort of the Chuck Knoll of truck stops, convenience stores,

An Armful of Optimism

Coffee, cigarettes, beer, technology, foodservice. Pick any one of these categories, and Handee Marts President Mike Triantafellou will approach it with unbridled enthusiasm.   Take cigarettes. Convenience-industry experts say cigarette sales in the near future could get bogged down, if not slain, by unfriendly legislation like the SCHIP bill, or by local governments that forbid

The Tax Train Keeps Rolling

January could not end soon enough. The industry hasn’t seen such a tumultuous month since November 1998 when Congress first turned to tobacco as its financial panacea. Big Brother was at it again last month with the U.S. Senate passing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)—including all of the cigarette and tobacco tax rate

Remerging Technology?

Zip back to Nov. 4, 2008, when CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer seemed smitten by some techno-spice his network rolled out during its coverage of the presidential election. It went like this: A 3D image of a CNN correspondent in Chicago was beamed to the network’s New York headquarters, where she appeared in-studio as a hologram.

Finding Pizza Perfection

Choosing a branded pizza partner means balancing a complex equation that weighs such factors as product quality, financial and logistical considerations, marketing programs, employee training, ongoing support, brand equity and local competition. Suddenly, a cheese pizza isn’t so simple any more. It’s a complex decision that must be made carefully, said Dan Rotherham, director of