While private label products are improving, quality and value remain critical components for all snacking options. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “Yes, but…” That’s the all-too-common answer to the question of whether or not price promotions can drive snack sales in convenience stores. Yes, in a lousy economy people look for and respond to savings.
While managing new products and planograms is vital, retailers will need to keep an eye out for federal tax increases and FDA intervention over the next 12 months. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokeless tobacco has outperformed expectations for three straight years—which, while good, leaves many in the industry fearing it’s only a matter of
Flavored and single-serve cigars represent a real opportunity for convenience stores to boost tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With flavored cigarettes no longer available in the U.S., flavored cigars are in line for sharp sales gains. But with FDA having declared last year that it’s got the cigar industry in its sights, retailers
E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, but for convenience stores they are beginning to make a big impact on sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes show promise as a growing tobacco subcategory, two issues are threatening its widespread growth. One is the looming threat of government regulation, which most agree is inevitable,
As consumers embrace roll your own (RYO) tobacco, retailers are seeing a boost in sales of accessories such as rolling papers, cigarette tubes and rolling machines. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokers seeking a safe harbor from cigarette tax increases have made port in the roll your own (RYO) segment. Many have been pleasantly surprised
With the growth of specialty restaurants, consumers today are exposed to new foods they may not be used to finding locally, and it’s creating a demand at convenience stores. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Ethnic offerings are driving foodservice sales at convenience stores hoping to diversify beyond basics like hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches. But
The cold vault is overrun with new products and traditional favorites. Chains can’t afford to waste cooler space on brands that don’t sell. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Water continues to briskly flow into and out of convenience stores. It’s bottled, it’s branded, it’s often flavored and, increasingly, it’s infused with ingredients that are good
Once considered a “guilty pleasure,” chocolate’s potential health benefits are attracting customers. By Howard Riell, Associated Editor. If there is one category that has historically been immune from an economic recession it is chocolate. Despite the difficult times many households have had to endure over the past two years, chocolate is one of those treats
Functional and sugar-free gums are predicted to see strong growth through 2014, tapping into the increasing demand for health-oriented products. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Gum manufacturers are giving Americans more healthy options, additional flavors and better packaging, creating an opportunity for category managers to remerchandise the candy aisle to capitalize on this exciting product
Convenience store operators that infuse their appetizer menus with “craveable” items can expect to gain additional consumer traffic. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumers are trying to cut their dining budgets, in many cases by eliminating starter items. To drive cravings and create interest in appetizers, operators must innovate with exciting dressings and dips, unusual
With new healthier beverage options becoming available retailers face the task of resetting coolers to maximize sales. By: By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Who would have thought that packaged beverages could cause so many people so much angst? Heightened environmental and health concerns and the spotlight on childhood obesity have been used to cast a
With margins from tobacco and fuel lagging, frozen beverages have stepped up as a pleasant surprise for retailers—whose goal now is to keep the momentum going. “It’s really a growth category for us, even though it has not been something we’ve spent a lot of time on in the past,” said Jennifer Vespole, senior category
Car care merchandise is delivering incremental sales with the help of private labels and impulse purchases. Customers have long ventured into local convenience stores to grab a bottle of windshield washer fluid or oil for their cars. Years ago, a small display would hold a few bottles of automotive fluids in case of an emergency.