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America Picks Top Military Veterans In 7-Eleven Contest

Top three finalists move to final competition for Franchise Fee-Free 7-Eleven Store. The public, friends and relatives of 10 military veterans competing for a 7-Eleven store somewhere in the U.S., cast more than 30,000 votes in the company’s national Operation: Take Command competition that ended Sunday night with the selection of the top three vote-getters.

chips

Chips Lead Salty Snack Sales

Chips never seem to go out of favor. When people crave a salty crunch, they often reach for chips, be it potato, corn or tortilla. In fact, “craving” is the reason behind 58% of salty snack purchases, according to research by the Mintel International Group. “While there remains a concern about the nutritional content of

meatsnacks

C-stores Top Seller for Meat Snacks

Snacks no longer serve just to satisfy a sweet or salty craving. Today’s consumers also want a meal substitute that keeps appetites satiated for a few hours. “They want high-protein snacks that are portable,” said Jared Koerten, senior analyst for Euromonitor International Inc. It’s this attitude that has made meat snacks one of the fastest-growing

nuts

Consumers Go Nuts for Healthy Snacks

For several years, news reports and advertising campaigns have touted the nutritional value of nuts and seeds, and obviously the public is paying attention. A recent survey by Technomic Inc. concluded that more than half of the convenience store customers interviewed stated they purposely sought out healthier snack options, including seeds and nuts, than they

loyalty

Are Loyalty Programs Less Engaging?

Sometimes known as a rewards, points or advantage card, a loyalty program is a marketing effort aimed at cultivating customer commitment and encouraging ongoing business. But while many customers sign up, few are really active, according to Colloquy, the Cincinnati-based research and publication organization for the loyalty industry. While the number of U.S. loyalty program

prepaid

Prepaid Card Demand Grows

Demand for prepaid and gift cards is expected to continue to grow in 2015. Gift cards, with their ease of use, have long been popular among convenience store customers. Growth in the prepaid category stems from the availability of new services and consumers seeking alternatives for financial services outside of traditional banks. “Prepaid as a

Woman pay by credit card

EMV Deadline Leads POS Trends

Mobile payment technology and going paperless will impact point-of-sale (POS) and back office trends in 2015. But, the big focus this year for convenience stores is the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline to become compliant with EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip technology. U.S. retailers are expected to spend more than $8 billion on POS devices,

TCS Gas Theft Prevention

Loss Prevention: Handling It Electronically

The No. 1 threat to convenience stores is organized retail crime (ORC). And though a 2014 National Retail Federation survey indicated that retailers affected by crime was under 90% for the first time in six years, c-stores remain a top target. “Often the c-store industry is the first stop for this type of criminal, who

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Electronic Payments Moving Mainstream

Despite much hype, electronic payment in the U.S. is still rolling along in first gear, compared to some other economies. Today, more than 87% of U.S. consumers own a cell phone, and the use of smartphones continues to grow rapidly, according to a recent FDIC report. But there are two factors necessary for increasing the

electronic cigarette

E-Cig Sales Re-Accelerate

Cigarette dollar sales up 2%. E-cigs dollar sales growth across all channels (mass + c-stores) re-accelerated sequentially to +9.6% in the period ending March 21, 2015, driven by +40.5% unit growth, partially offset by -22% net pricing, reported Wells Fargo Securities LLC, quoting the latest Nielsen data. “Though e-cig year-over-year pricing has been negative for

R-Store To Launch Free Mobile App

“We are ecstatic to share this with our customers,” says CEO of R-Store. R-Store, operated by Riiser Energy, has launched a new mobile app. The R-Stores are taking a new approach to convenience by creating a free app for their on-the-go customers. Simply by downloading the new app customers will receive a coupon for a

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Nice N Easy Celebrates 35 Years

Opened in 1980 by the late John MacDougall, the company has grown to more than 78 corporate and franchise stores. Yesterday, April 1, marked the 35th Anniversary of convenience store chain Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes. “We would like to thank our dedicated employees, business partners and most of all our loyal customers for making

HersheyLogoFinal_2014_HIRES

Bilbrey Elected Chairman of The Hershey Co.

“It is a privilege and honor to succeed Jim as chairman,” says Bilbrey. The Hershey Co. announced that its Board of Directors has elected John Bilbrey as chairman of the Board of Directors of The Hershey Co., effective immediately. Bilbrey will continue to be president and CEO of the global confectionery company, a role he

kickbacklogo

United Oil Partners With KickBack Points

Retailer rolls the loyalty program out to 91 of its more than 125 convenience stores across Southern California. Loyalty programs were once value-added perks. Today, consumers not only expect them, but they also demand good deals from the retail stores they shop at regularly. To meet the needs of its growing customer base, United Oil

Sheetz

Sheetz Responds To Top EquiTrend Ranking

“We are able to succeed because we have outstanding employees with a commitment to Total Customer Focus and our Sheetz culture,” says Sheetz CEO. Sheetz Inc. has been recognized as consumers’ most-trusted convenience-store brand according to the 2015 Harris Poll EquiTrend study. For the first time Sheetz, a family-owned and operated convenience chain, received the

energy

CSD, Energy Drink Sales Soften

“With retail gas prices rising, we believe in-store sales were negatively impacted across all categories,” says Wells Fargo spokesperson. Total carbonated soft drink (CSD) excluding energy drinks, dollar sales in the U.S. convenience store channel were down -1.4% (+1.5% for prior 12-weeks) during the four-week period ending March 14, 2015, reported Wells Fargo Securities quoting

RILA

RILA Reacts To President’s Resolution Veto

‘Ambush Election’ Bill survives as President Obama vetoes resolution. President Barack Obama vetoed a resolution yesterday put forth by Republicans that would have ended a labor board rule finalized in December that is set to go into effect this month. The National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) rule in question shortens the length of time in

mintel

Mintel Examines Chocolate Category

Chocolate innovation has increased, with new product launches growing 18% between 2013-2014. Chocolate confectionery sales grew 24% over a five-year period from 2009-2014 to reach $21 billion in the U.S., the world’s largest chocolate market. However, the pace of growth slowed in 2014, following a pattern that has evolved over the past few measurement periods,

neapolitan ice cream

Dairy Remains a Patron Destination

Dairy products like ice cream and milk can prove productive parts of the c-store sales mix in the months to come provided retailers and suppliers are open to aggressive merchandising, flexible pricing and flavor innovation. According to Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation for Chicago-based research and consulting firm Technomic Inc., 73% of consumers

Chocolate pieces

Chocolate Still Sweet as Sales Stay Steady

Chocolate candy sales totaled $2.66 billion for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2014, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data. That’s a jump of 3.2% compared to same period the previous year. Unit sales for the same period totaled 1.83 billion, up 0.47% over the same period. Meanwhile, non-chocolate candy brought in dollar sales

Gum

Gum, Mints Require Creativity

The months to come will see c-store operators increasingly taking steps to restore or replace flagging sales of gum, either by crafting a more persuasive marketing message for older consumers or replacing some SKUs with popular mints. In the 52 weeks ending Nov. 30 2014, the regular gum segment—with $510.6 million in sales—remained much smaller

hbc

HBA Set To Grow This Year

Convenience stores will continue to do steady business with the health and beauty aid (HBA) category in 2015 and beyond as long as they stick to their knitting: good assortment, smaller package sizes, sharper merchandising, dependable employee assistance and seasonal products in stock when needed. Notably broad, the HBA category encompasses a slew of home

car wash service

Car Washes Trending Upward

An improving economy has helped buoy car wash sales in some regions—a trend expected to continue in 2015. “We are seeing consistent top-line growth over the past 18 months—car wash counts (cars washed) and average ticket (average money spent by the consumer per wash) have both been trending upward,” said Eric Wulf, CEO of the

Halogen bulb,fluorescent bulb and LED bulb

LED Pushes Lighting Advances Forward

For NOCO Express, last December’s grand opening of its newly rebuilt store in Grand Island, N.Y. marks the evolution of its stores—and on a lesser scale—its commitment to more efficient lighting. The renovation took the formerly 950-square-foot store to 4,000 square feet, and included environmentally-friendly building technologies to reduce energy consumption. These include low-watt LED

Gas Pump Over White

Alternative Fuels Expanding Market

The Fuels Institute predicts that E85 sales will increase from 196 million gallons in 2013 to between 400 million and 4.4 billion gallons in 2023. Today, between 2,685 and 3,349 retail fuel stations in the U.S. sell E85 flex fuel, according to the Fuels Institute report, “E85 A Market Performance Analysis and Forecast.” The report

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