groceries

Capturing Hispanic Customers

Offering quality customer service with bilingual employees and traditional foods can drive retail loyalty among the growing Hispanic population. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Today, Hispanic food is mainstream and attractive to a wide array of demographics seeking spicier flavors, but the secret to keeping your Hispanic customers’ repeat business lies in more than just

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C-Store Count Grows 1.2%

Today there is approximately one c-store per 2,100 U.S. residents. The U.S. convenience store count increased to a record 148,126 stores as of Dec. 31, 2011, a 1.2% increase (1,785 stores) from the year prior, according to the latest NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. The convenience retailing industry has seen remarkable growth over the last

James Thornton, (left) founder of Thorntons Inc., and Matt Thornton, (right) president and CEO of Thorntons accept the Chain of the Year award from CSD Editor John Lofstock.

Thorntons Earns Top Chain Honors

Kentucky operator presented the industry’s most prestigious retail award at a gala in Chicago. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Convenience Store Decisions honored Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons Inc. as its 22nd annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year at an exclusive dinner at Café Spiaggia in Chicago last month during the NACS Show. More than 200

privatelabel

Dissecting Private Label Trends

Private label performance is mixed across CPG channels; club and mass/super channels seeing strongest share growth. SymphonyIRI Group’s latest Times & Trends Report, “Private Label: Brand Positioning in the New World Order,” explores current and emerging trends around private label, as well as national brand efforts to protect and grow their position in the CPG

Tracking the Trends in Convenience Retailing

Despite the global recession, convenience stores have thrived thanks to their ability to provide fast service, quality products and great value in strategic locations. As service and location remain the industry’s primary competitive advantage over supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, many of whom are moving into the fuel and fresh food business, convenience stores

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Family Mart On Wheels Heads to Disaster Areas

A new mobile c-store concept rolls into areas in Japan that are left without c-store access after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, as well as other food deserts in the country. Family Mart, a major c-store chain in Japan is launching a new fleet of mobile convenience store trucks to provide services to tsunami

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Love’s Introduces Cardless Fueling

Love’s to install RFID technology nationwide, offering greater control over fuel theft and speedier transactions for customers. Love’s Travel Stops is set to install RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology at all of its locations nationwide. When combined with a RFID tag in the cab of the truck, this technology will enable fuel transactions without a

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Coinstar Inc. Provides Q2 Results

Coinstar Inc. says goodbye to one of its executive leaders as it releases its second quarter results for fiscal 2011. Coinstar Inc., a provider in automated retail, has announced a leadership transition for the company’s redbox business, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coinstar. Mitch Lowe has resigned as president of redbox to pursue entrepreneurial and other

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Margins Spark Tobacco Accessories

As the convenience store industry continues to weather the unceasing assault by legislators determined to make it harder to sell tobacco products, accessories are picking up speed based on what is still easy to sell. As a result, tobacco accessories is an emerging category that should continue to grow throughout 2011. According to SymphonyIRI Group,

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Seeking Affordable Security Solutions

Amer Hawatmeh, president of St. Louis-based St. George Oil, believes in secure cash management, and that manufacturers of the newest systems need to work with retailers to make them more affordable. “The bottom line with cash management, my golden rule, is that once you have $100 in the drawer you need to get rid of

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Product Assortment Key to General Merchandise, HBC

With the economy rebounding, 2011 is the perfect time to start driving general merchandise and health and beauty items in c-stores. “If you have cutting edge items, and word gets out, people will flock to your stores,” said Brad Lemoine, marketing director for 40 Louisiana U-PAK-It stores, a brand that unites several operators who all

Chips

Chips Entice Customers with Healthier Options, New Flavors

Salty snacks continue to drive business to convenience stores. Retailers should look to partner with suppliers to capitalize on promotional activity to boost margins and profits, as well as looking at local suppliers as consumers continue to demand products made closer to home. Steve Nalu, president of Towns Mart convenience stores in Romeo, Mich., saw

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Cigars, E-Cigarettes Earning More Shelf Space

Tedeschi Food Stores of Brookline, Mass., made a decision four years ago to slash the space it gave cigarettes to increase its focus on other tobacco products (OTP). Cigarette sales continued to trend downward in the chain’s New England markets—thanks to a combination of higher taxes and aggressive marketing by Native Americans—and Tedeschi wanted to

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Predicting Prepaid Growth

The prepaid card market continues to grow, and consumers are purchasing cards more often at “prepaid malls” inside convenience stores. “Rather than going to the actual store for a (Gap, for example) gift card, they go to a 7-Eleven and get the card for that store there. For c-stores that can be significant since many

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Strong Forecast for Meat Snacks in 2011

Meat snacks had a robust 2010 at U.S. convenience stores, bringing in a total dollar volume of $859,071,196, according to Nielsen Co. data for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 22, 2011, up 4.8% from the previous year. The top products driving the meat snacks category for the year in dollar volume were traditional sticks at

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Dairy Facing Higher Costs

Closer management of the dairy category will be crucial in 2011. According to the U.S. Dairy Association (USDA), dairy will be among the food groups with the highest price increases in 2011—4.5 to 5.5%—due to rising energy and cattle-feed costs. While the industry has evolved, many chains, such as Byrne Dairy Co. in Syracuse, N.Y.,

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Getting More Out of the Back Office

Today’s fast-paced retail environment demands that convenience store owners invest in retail systems that not only speed up service, but do more to help chains reduce operating costs. Back office isn’t backstage. What happens there directly affects customers, so retailers need to get it right. Today’s systems must be able to offer useful services, such

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Sandwich Sales on a Roll

There’s a reason why American Retail Services (ARS) of Oceanside, Calif.,  chose sandwiches as the centerpiece of the budding foodservice program it’s launching in its 100-store chain. Chicago-based market research firm Mintel International estimated in September 2010 that despite the challenges of the recent economy, sandwich shop sales grew 3.1% in 2010 to $24.3 billion.

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Healthy Breads, Ethnic Flavor Propel Bakery

The bakery category is not as simple as heating up some dough to produce to produce bread, cookies and muffins. The complex category requires attention to detail. Does the product come frozen and ready to go right into the oven? Does it come frozen, and only needs to be thawed before serving? Is the product

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Chocolate Sweetens Confectionery Sales

As the economy sputtered through 2010, confections emerged as the indulgence of choice for price-sensitive customers. The confections segment enjoyed a banner year with total chocolate sales increasing 6.89% to $2.1 billion. Units sold increased 6.3% to 1.78 billion. The average price held steady at $1.18, according to SymphonyIRI Group, for the 52 weeks ended

Even in the face of federal and state taxes, cigarette sales were up 5.21% in 2010.

Dealing With Tobacco’s Cloudy Future

For all the controversy surrounding cigarettes and increased local and federal taxes, cigarette sales fared well in 2010, according to SymphonyIRI Group. For the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, cigarette sales totaled more than $53.5 billion, up 5.21% from the pervious 12 months. Units sold increased 1.52% to slightly more than nine billion. The

Only 27% of 18 to 24 year olds drink coffee on a regular basis.

Coffee Sales Hotter Than Ever

Hot dispensed beverages, most notably coffee, remain a lynchpin of the convenience store foodservice business and a key to its continued growth. Growing sales will be a crucial task in the months and years ahead. Chicago-based research firm Mintel International reported that c-stores and other retail coffee marketers must begin to actively recruit younger drinkers

C-store operators are featuring a wider array of products on their roller grills to better compete on the foodservice front.

Roller Grills Grow Up

Thanks to a surge of new products focused on ethnic diversity, the roller grill—the original anchor for most convenience store hot food programs—is hotter than ever before. And the one thing c-store operators like and appreciate most about roller grills is that you hardly notice they’re there. Grills don’t take up much room and can

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Craft Sales Drive Beer

Following a solid 2009, the Brewers Association, the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, reported strong 2010 numbers for small and independent craft brewers. Dollar sales were up 12% in the first half of 2010, compared to 9% growth during the same period in 2009. Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew

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Sales Increases in Store for Juices and Teas

Watch out, soft drinks. Teas and juices are looking to capture health-conscious consumers in 2011 with flavor innovation and antioxidant power. The refrigerated juices and drinks category in the c-store sector saw total dollar sales of $423,746,400, according to SymphonyIRI data for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, up 5.73% compared to the previous

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