HBC

Beautifying Sales

Knowing what women want—and expect—can help c-stores understand how to grow the HBC category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As convenience stores look to attract more female customers, industry figures indicate that the health and beauty care (HBC) category offers retailers an opportunity they might not have considered before. While no one is claiming that

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Banking on Cigarettes

Declining sales, consolidation and consumer alternatives pose challenges for retailers who rely on cigarette sales to maintain margins. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Cigarettes Are still a vital c-store category despite recent declining sales. Restrictive regulations and new competition in the form of both dollar stores and alternative products like e-cigarettes and vapor tanks are

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Making Prepaid Pay

Marketing, merchandising and knowing customers’ needs are keys to expanding prepaid profitability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Research indicates that the amount of money spent at retail on prepaid services continues to grow in the U.S. But that may not necessarily mean the category will pay off handsomely for every c-store operator. The total dollars loaded

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A Forward Look at Convenience Retailing

As Convenience Store Decisions celebrates its 25th anniversary, retail experts weigh in on what consumers and c-store operators can expect over the next 25 years. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Steve Jobs once cautioned. “You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the

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Teas Quench RTD Demand

With carbonated drink sales fizzing, ready-to-drink teas are satisfying customers’ thirst and c-store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As soft drink sales decline, customers continue to turn to iced teas and non-carbonated fruit beverages for healthful refreshment and exciting new tastes. Ready-to-drink (RTD) teas continue to lead growth among packaged beverages, something demographic findings

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FOR ALL SEASONS

Whether it’s the dog days of summer or the hazy shade of winter, innovative promotions can help maintain frozen beverage sales all year long. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience store operators know customers seek cold and frozen dispensed beverages when the thermometer outside rises. However, what can c-stores to do promote sales when temperatures

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Ruling on Smokeless Tobacco

Although smokeless tobacco has successfully held off most margin pressures, the category cannot escape the scrutiny of regulators. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As sales of traditional cigarettes continue to decline, many convenience stores are making the most of the swelling popularity of the smokeless tobacco category. C-store sales of smokeless tobacco climbed by 7.6%

SNACKS!

Salty Snacks Still Satisfy

Americans’ propensity for snacking hasn’t wavered, according to new research, and understanding trends can boost store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. A convenience store’s strategy to boost salty snack sales can be bolstered by understanding the growing body of research examining consumers and their snacking habits, then making adjustments to accommodate customers’ buying habits.

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Employing Low-Tech Solutions

Employee theft is a routine cause of shrink. Sometimes the best loss prevention solutions are the most basic. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Employee theft is one of the biggest causes of shrink among c-stores, and retailers are combating it with high-tech solutions like high speed video cameras and online monitoring. But as is often

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Mastering Store Security

High-tech solutions are most effective if low-tech solutions are also in place to back them up. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Employee theft is one of the biggest causes of shrink among c-stores, and retailers are combating it with high-tech solutions like high speed video cameras and online monitoring. But as is often the case,

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The Convenience Retailing of Tomorrow

Technology and automation to be the biggest trends impacting convenience stores in the future. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Steve Jobs once cautioned. “You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” And so as Convenience

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Cigars Face Uncertain Future

The c-store industry continues to monitor the FDA’s deeming rules regarding cigars and what it means going forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor The federal government’s recent decisions concerning tobacco products, specifically cigars, underscore the need for vigilance and involvement on the part of convenience store operators, not just to maintain category sales, but to

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Meat Snacks Move Ahead

Just as consumers continue to crave meat snacks, savvy convenience store operators are taking full advantage with smart sets, effective merchandising and promotional opportunities. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Twenty-Five years ago, meat snack choices seldom strayed beyond traditional beef jerky. Today, however, spicy and exotic varieties have enlivened the category, even as functional and

ATM

Shaping the Future of ATMs

As new technology emerges, retailers are boosting profits in the changing era of financial services. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience stores that offer financial services are perhaps responding to societal changes. But as monetary tools become more modern—especially in the case of ATMs—operators will have to game plan even more to provide customers the

cigarettes

Meeting the Challenge

Aggressive pricing and eliminating product outages are two keys to maintaining cigarette sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Even as the buzz of e-cigarettes continues to grow, traditional cigarettes remain an essential product for the convenience store industry. However with increasing pressures from government and regulators, cigarette sales continue to decline with seemingly no let

smokeless

Smokeless Sales Stay Strong

Smokeless tobacco remains a robust category amid growing e-cigarette performers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As sales continue to lead the other-tobacco-products (OTP) category ahead of cigars and e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco represents a major opportunity for convenience stores going forward. With cigarette volume declining in c-stores and vape shops stealing business with electronic nicotine devices,

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Training Key to Boosting Accessory Sales

Though the category offers high margins and caters to loyal customers, tobacco accessories often go unnoticed by store employees. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Lighters, rolling papers and e-cigarette accessories offer convenience stores the opportunity to upsell customers at the counter. Unfortunately, the large majority of convenience store employees get little to no training when

gum

Getting Gum Back on Track

While it’s still an important category in convenience stores, the bubble has burst on gum sales over the past two years. The good news is manufacturers are doubling down on their efforts to grow the category with new products and better pricing. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Gum continues to prove something of an enigma

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MST Offers Hope for Traditional Tobacco

MST sales remain strong, and analysts are calling for another solid year in 2014 despite regulatory efforts. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor While moist smokeless tobacco (MST) sales are projected to enjoy a strong 2014, possible government legislation and public health campaigns could converge to slow its momentum. To maximize sales now, industry proponents insist

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Growing the Dispensed Beverage Business

Whether it’s partnering with a buying group or negotiating a better contract on your own, fountain sales offer unprecedented profit potential. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Getting the best price possible at the soda fountain can be crucial to a convenience store operator’s profitability. That is what executives at Phillips 66 had in mind recently

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Catering to Your Candy Customers

Americans are eating more chocolate, which means the time has come for retailers who haven’t already done so to rethink, revamp and restock their chocolate sets. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Americans love candy, but maximizing sales from this complex, yet essential category takes focus and attention. Melding new products and line extensions with must-have

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Building a Better Cigar Business

Tracking the trends and stocking more flavored products can help convenience stores boost overall tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Delighted with cigars’ popularity growing among consumers, convenience store operators are taking steps to maximize sales and satisfy customers even as they keep a wary eye on federal and local regulations that could impact

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Healthy Fare Drives Roller Grill Flair

To keep up with the ever-changing tastes of a wide-variety of palates the roller grill is becoming more important than ever for driving sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor When it comes to foodservice, convenience store operators often find themselves wedged unfairly between a rock and a hard place. Consumers want to indulge in food

Tax On Beer Considered To Help Pay For Health Care

Crafting a Winning Beer Strategy

While the economic downturn has affected consumer spending across many sectors, craft and craft-style beers are defying recessionary trends with an impressive upward trajectory.By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Keeping tabs on ever-changing consumer preferences is part of the day-to-day routine for convenience store retailers. And when it comes to beer, preferences change from store to

tobacco

OTP Sales Remain Strong

Smokeless tobacco products have become increasingly important to the U.S. tobacco industry, which is seeking to push more of these products as Americans smoke fewer cigarettes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With traditional cigarettes under fire on several fronts, convenience store retailers rightly view smokeless tobacco as an important part of the future of their

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