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Agriculture Secretary Pushes E85 at a Thorntons in Tenn.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of moving toward a clean energy economy and breaking the country’s unsustainable dependence on foreign oil while visiting a Thorntons convenience store that markets E-85 fuel. “Flex-fuel pumps give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels,” Vilsack said. “The Obama Administration is working to transform

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ConocoPhillips Joins Kickback’s Coalition Loyalty Program

ConocoPhillips today reported that it has joined the Kickback Points Coalition Loyalty Program. This compelling program will offer Phillips 66, Conoco and 76-branded retailers a turnkey and cost effective loyalty solution. Participating consumers can earn and redeem points instantly for fuel and merchandise purchases at participating Phillips 66, Conoco and 76-branded sites as well as

Serving the Industry

There is more pressure than ever on convenience store chains to not only exceed customers’ expectations, but to stay ahead of the competition, navigate legislative issues and still be good corporate citizens in the communities they serve. This doesn’t even take into account managing operations, training employees and developing a strategy to grow the business.

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Complying with Cigarette Sales Restrictions

As the noose tightens on menthol products, convenience store retailers are learning to accept the latest limitations placed on tobacco products. By: John Lofstock, Editor. Cigarettes will soon carry new warning labels as the question for retailers becomes how to market a product whose package basically urges consumers not to buy it. Federal legislation handed

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The Growing Demand for Fresh Foods

In today’s health-conscious world, convenience stores are expanding their menus to include more healthy snacks and meals. By: John Lofstock, Editor. While cash-strapped consumers are cooking at home more often to help ease tight budgets, a new study by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) found that these shoppers are on the lookout for

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Tom Thumb Wins CSD Extreme Makeover Contest

Florida chain will receive a complete brand audit, consulting services and an updating marketing strategy from Integrate and Convevo Partners. By Greg Ehrlich and John Lofstock One of the biggest differences between top convenience store operators and the rest of the industry is the strength of their brands and their clarity of purpose. Over the

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7-Eleven Acquires Wilson Farms

Deal covering 188 stores significantly boosts the chain’s presence in western New York. 7-Eleven, Inc. has signed an agreement to purchase Wilson Farms, a Buffalo-based convenience store chain with 188 outlets in New York state, with an expected closing in the second quarter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The addition of Wilson Farms

How Involved Are You?

By: John Lofstock, Editor. After a years-long struggle to get some much-needed relief from the high interchange fees that are eroding the industry’s profitability, convenience store operators are in danger of seeing the victory slip between their hands. The Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Act, which is set to be finalized April

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Convenience Store Sales Show Strong Growth in 2010

Convenience store in-store sales grew 4.4% in 2010, reaching a record $190.4 billion, according to figures released today by NACS. Combined with $328.7 billion in motor fuels sales, total convenience store sales in 2010 were $575.6 billion, or one out of every 25 dollars of the overall $14.624 trillion U.S. gross domestic product. The industry’s

Emphasizing Category Management

 By: John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience Store Decisions‘ annual Category Management Outlook issue is routinely one of my favorite issues of the year because it gives the CSD staff an opportunity not only to analyze the industry’s performance over the past 12 months, but to forecast the sales trends retailers can expect to see over the

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Banking Industry has Durbin Amendment Under Fire

By John Lofstock and Erin Rigik. The Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Act, which would give the convenience store industry much-needed relief on debit card transactions, could be delayed as a result of a new bill introduced March 15 by Senator John Tester (D-MT). Any such delay would be “a slap in

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Wholesale Gasoline Costs Mixed as Crude Slips

Wholesale gasoline costs were mixed through the week-ending Monday (3/14), with prices in the West Coast bucking lower markets in most parts of the U.S. as California transitions to summer grade gasoline with a lower Reid Vapor Pressure reading. Retail prices will continue to advance on the updraft from previous spiking wholesale values triggered by

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Enter the 2011 C-Store Futurecast Contest

Is your image suffering from market fatigue? Could your stores use a face lift? Are you looking for a marketing edge that will reinvigorate your retail brand? Then it’s time to enter C-Store Futurecast 2011, Convenience Store Decisions’ Extreme Marketing Makeover contest. CSD has joined forces with Convevo Partners and Integrate to offer one contest

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Drivers Fill-Up as Gasoline Prices Spike

Federal data shows that gasoline supplied to the market, frequently referred to as implied demand, surged in late February, holding above the five-year average for the final two full weeks last month even though retail gasoline prices were setting a series of new highs. It was the first time in 2011 that the demand indicator

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Take the 2011 CSD/Kleiman HR Human Resources Benchmarking Survey

In order to support the convenience store industry’s forecasting and planning responsibilities for the new year, Convenience Store Decisions and Kleiman HR are collaborating to provide insight into the industry human resources practices. For the third consecutive year, Convenience Store Decisions, in partnership with human resources expert Mel Kleiman is launching a confidential online survey

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Retail Gasoline Prices Continue Higher in Early February

Wholesale trading for gasoline in the U.S. was again volatile during the week-ended Feb. 11, with the benchmark futures contract trading in a 12.4 cents range although prices moved up a more modest 3.0 cents during the week. Wholesale gasoline offers at distribution terminals were mixed across the country, higher along the West Coast on

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The 2011 Foodservice Report

Convenience store retailers posted strong across-the-board sales gains in 2010 and expressed optimism for an even more robust 2011. Thanks to an increasingly busy lifestyle, today’s convenience store customers regard food prepared away from home as a necessity, and the industry’s top-quartile retailers have benefited handsomely from meeting the growing demand for fresh foods. For

Preparing for Higher Pump Prices

While these difficult economic times continue to peck away at customers’ disposable income, fuel prices are creeping up, which will only further erode discretionary spending. Gasoline prices nationally have increased steadily since September, rising nearly 60 cents to an average of $3.11 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to the Department of Energy at

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Gasoline Price Advance Arrested, if Only for the Moment

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor, Telvent DTN A string of successive advances in the US retail gasoline price average reported by the federal government that started in late November ended Jan. 31 with a 0.9 cents decline to $3.101 gallon. The US average, which is for regular grade gasoline and reported by the

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Perkins Promoted at Rutter’s

Rutter’s Farm Stores, Convenience Store Decisions’ 2010 Convenience Store Chain of the Year, has promoted Robert Perkins to vice president of marketing. Perkins, who joined Rutter’s in 2007, had been director of marketing. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the convenience retail industry in the areas of marketing, sales, business development and operations.

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Kent Oil Partners with FuelQuest

Kent Oil, operator of 26 convenience stores and four travel centers in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico under the Kent Kwik brand, said it reached a deal with FuelQuest Inc.to use its Fuel Management System (FMS) solution and services. The Midland, Texas-based retailer will use FMS to automate fuel inventory forecasting, planning, ordering, and delivery

Building the Business

Quality employees and customer service are the backbone of the convenience store and petroleum industry. All you have to do is observe how top quartile companies treat and respect their personnel to understand what kind of asset frontline employees can be to a successful company. It’s no accident that these operators are outperforming their competitors

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Gasoline Prices Continue Ascent

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor, Telvent DTN Retail gasoline prices continued to move higher through mid January, climbing when values typically flounder near annual lows during a time of year when winter weather usually dampens driving demand. Gasoline demand is nearly 2% higher during the four weeks ending Jan. 7 compared with the

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TPE 2011 Exceeding Expectations

Tobacco Plus Expo has the reputation of being the ultimate tobacco trade show experience for the tobacco industry. Bigger and better than ever, TPE 2011 promises to live up to that reputation. The show features a fabulous array of more than 150 exhibitors and conference sessions that focus on building business. This year’s not-to-be-missed trade

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Take the CSD/Balvor 2011 Foodservice Outlook Survey

Foodservice sales are hot and convenience store operators fighting for their “fare” share. How is foodservice performing for your company? What’s your outlook for the various foodservice categories in 2011? And, where are you focusing more time and energy this year as it relates to commissary and other packaged products and food prepared on-site? Convenience

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