Grocery Sales Going Up

Signs of the Times Overextended and anxious about the economy, consumers are responding to economic pressures by buying less, borrowing less and paying down credit card debt. The amount Americans owe on credit cards and other consumer loans plunged a record $21.6 billion in July, dimming prospects that the budding economic recovery will extend to

Serving the Unbanked

As the economy worsened, the number of adult Americans without bank accounts grew exponentially—and the use of prepaid cash cards climbed to new heights as well. Directo, a company that tracks pay cards to unbanked workers, reported that the recession has sent the number of unbanked Americans soaring to about 50 million, well up from

Investing in a Foodservice Future

At first look, boosting business with breakfast sales may seem like a strange idea in these tough economic times as today’s high unemployment means fewer workers stopping for breakfast en route to work. The fact that teenagers and men between the ages of 18-35, who are some of the c-store industry’s most frequent visitors, have

Targeting New Customers

Gaining market share has never been more important than it is today, when a tough economy is forcing customers to hang on to their money longer. This means that c-store retailers seeking new customers need to become aware of what specific groups need in order to improve their marketing strategies. One such group is the

New Forecourt Moves

Though gas prices have dropped significantly from a year ago, forecourt-driven sales are still a challenge for many convenience stores because people aren’t buying gas as freely as they did several years ago. The reason? Our troubled economy makes it tough for many to afford the long car trips. Fewer trips mean fewer opportunities to

Customers Indulging in Chocolate

The Benefits of Chocolate Once considered a “guilty pleasure,” researchers now say that chocolate offers health benefits—when consumed in moderation and provided the chocolate is the right kind. International experiments show that dark chocolate has an impressive array of activities, according to the Harvard Health Newsletter. It’s an antioxidant that may improve cholesterol scores and

Chicken’s Popularity Continues to Grow

Chicken’s economical price and inherent flexibility gives convenience store retailers a myriad of opportunities for growing their foodservice business without sacrificing quality and value. However, deciding whether your stores’ best interests are better served by a branded or proprietary chicken program requires an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks each model offers, said consultant John

Creating Supply Chain Efficiencies

Getting products to stores more efficiently is now a major focus for all major retailers and distributors. Better distribution means lower costs and higher margins—both items high on c-store owners’ agendas these days—when customers are clutching their wallets more tightly than they have in years. “There are two ways to make money: increase prices or

Getting More From Your POS

New electronic point-of-sale (POS) solutions are rolling out constantly, pushing retailers to make wise decisions based on their needs. Moreover, with PCI compliance nearing, finding the right solution can be more difficult. POS system owners typically use only a small fraction of the system’s capabilities, noted IBM global products executive Ralph Jacobson. “We did a

Gum Sales Grow

The retail sector is still struggling overall, but as some segments continue to sink, others rise. American consumers are still buying billions of dollars of candy each year, and this isn’t changing as they resist making major purchases. Even during a recession, American consumers still have a sweet tooth, which explains why gum and candy

C-Store Food Sales Get Healthier

Convenience retailers are increasing their share of healthy, fresh food sales, according to industry observers, who noted convenience outlets and big boxes are also gaining share at the expense of grocery stores. Though fresh and prepared foods offer high margin rings, c-store retailers should be certain they are truly ready to do food preparation before

Growing Snack Sales

Sunflower seeds, which have quietly built a loyal following both as planned and impulse purchases, are garnering more shelf space these days as c-store retailers expand this category. Randy Adams, buyer for Huck’s Food and Fuel in Carmi, Ill., found that sunflower seeds have proven so popular that when he recently completed a nuts and

Driving Car Wash Sales

Doggy Drive Throughs One of the faster growing car wash trends is the do-it-yourself dog wash, which appears largely driven by financial considerations on the part of dog owners. No wonder: With dog grooming salons charging anywhere from $25 to $100 to bathe Fido these days, a $5 or even $10 self-serve alternative is a

Light Beers Poised for A Big Year

Think the U.S. leads the world in beer consumption? Think again. Though America has a larger population than beer-drinking countries like Germany or Britain, the winner in this year’s beer sales sweepstakes is a brew many Americans have probably never heard of: A Chinese beer named Snow. “SAB-Miller was going to roll Snow beer into

Can Packaging Boost Sales?

The Anti-Styrofoam Brigade C-store retailers beware. If the current political and regulatory trends continue, you may have to find an alternative packaging that doesn’t contain Styrofoam, and fast. Because non-biodegradable garbage threatens more and more marine and coastal ecosystems as it continues to accumulate in the world’s oceans, California legislators have introduced a bill that

Demographics Driving Cold, Frozen Sales

From movie promotions at 7-Eleven to new flavors, the cold and frozen category is generating some excitement despite the presence of chilly temperatures in many parts of the country. Actually, where you live may well play a large part in what customers want to see in your cold dispensers.  Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public affairs

Energy Drinks Holding Strong

Energy Crash Ahead? Driven by studies that demonstrate the adverse impacts high levels of caffeine have, a “truth-in-labeling” movement is gaining strength that may strongly impact energy drink retailers from Maine to California and could raise liability issues for the fastest-growing products in the cold vault.Because energy drinks are marketed as dietary supplements rather than

Bursting With Energy

Sultry Sales One new energy-shot sales trend WSCO’s general retail manager Darrell Looney sees is that some shots are being touted as aphrodisiacs. “The last NACS show was the first time I really noticed the presence of products that specifically spoke to potency and endurance,” Looney said, adding that it’s probably too soon to tell

Java Jolts Beverage Sales

According to a recent study from the National Coffee Association, more coffee-drinkers than ever before say their favorite brew improves mental focus and provides health benefits. Not surprisingly, consumption of coffee now surpasses that of soft drinks—and while the gap is still narrow, daily consumption of coffee is pointing directionally higher. Young adults are the

Energizing Beverage Sales

Energy Drinks are still growing in double-digit figures, but some retailers feel a little edgy these days because the category isn’t growing at the same exponential rate it has during the past few years. “Don’t get me wrong, energy is a very big category that puts a lot of money into the bottom line,” said

Ethnic Flair Drives Roller Grill

My, how the roller grill continues to evolve. No longer visited exclusively by customers hungry for a hot dog, roller grills now boast a growing variety of ethnic foods nationwide, featuring everything from Mexican tortas to pork-filled Chinese steamed buns to breadsticks stuffed with jalapeno peppers and cheese. “We brought egg rolls and tornados into

Foodservice Versatility

Chicken continues to pace the hot prepared food category thanks to its ability to attract a diverse audience. Perhaps because it’s viewed as a healthy alternative to red meats, chicken—as flexible as it is flavorful—also remains a favorite choice for salads, sandwiches, soups and entrees, which is why more c-store operators are making it the

Store Brands Bring Big Bucks

Looking for ways to boost your grocery sales? Sales figures show that in today’s scary economy, shoppers are pinching pennies wherever they can—and one way that’s becoming increasingly popular is buying generic or so-called "house" brands. Gone are the days when generic brands looked, well, generic. Today’s generic brands are more attractively packaged, and the

Grocery Aisles Growing Sales

According to Nielsen’s Gas Monitor Report, when gas prices rose, consumers reacted by limiting the amount of fuel they bought during each visit to the pump. But this trend encouraged more trips to the fuel island. Additionally, higher fuel prices encouraged consumers to shop more at c-stores rather than travel to additional destinations. The economy

Keeping Costs in Check

Cutting costs won’t necessarily bring more customers into your store, but it will boost your bottom line. And though heaven knows costs are tough to cut these days, there is one way convenience retailers can save a bundle—by lowering food waste. C-store retailers seeking to win more customers by expanding food offerings should become vigilant

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