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

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

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

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.,

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poultry Powers Food Sales

Versatility makes chicken one of the most popular segments in foodservice. Chicago-based market research firm Mintel International reported new menu items in convenience stores and QSRs in 2010 were chicken-based as these retail segments expanded to compete with supermarkets. Mintel’s QSR report noted that 43% of respondents said they wanted healthier menu options at restaurants

Pizza Projecting Upward

QSR pizza sales have hovered at $33–$36 billion for the last few years and projections for the upcoming year are very strong, Pizza Marketplace reported. The grim economy of the past couple of years has not crushed the spirit of folks who like to eat out. Although pizza sales slowed in recent months due to

Positive Outlook for Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated soft drink sales dipped in 2010, but are expected to show positive growth in 2011. “Because the economy is better and products like Coke Zero have done well with customers, we are predicting 2.3% growth in 2011 for carbonated beverages,” said Garima Goel Lal, senior consumer analyst for Mintel International. Overall sales of carbonated

Dispensed Beverages Thrive on Innovation and Marketing

Dispensed cold and frozen beverages enjoyed another solid year of growth in 2010, and 2011 is shaping up to be another strong year, according to the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y. “Our latest research is telling us 3% of consumers going into a convenience store are purchasing a frozen beverage or slushy drink,” said

Enhancing the Possibilities of Bottled Water

Bottled water sales nationwide continue to rise. Sales in convenience stores reached nearly $2.9 billion for the 52-week period ended Dec. 26, 2010, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a growth of 2.19%. Of that, more than $2.6 billion came from convenience/PET still waters. Leading brands include Glacéau, Aquafina, Dasani, Nestlé Pure Life, Poland Spring, SoBe and

Loyalty and Rewards Come of Age

Gaining and retaining loyal customers in 2011 is crucial. According to Chicago-based research firm Mintel International, 35% of customers in the U.S. say their choice of store is determined by special offers or discounts. This means convenience stores need to find new and innovative ways to stand out from the crowd. This is one reason

Energizing Cooler Sales

Maybe it’s the unusually trying times we live in that have Americans reaching so often for beverages that bolster their energy levels. Regardless, it’s convenience store owners that are reaping the rewards. Sales of energy drinks in c-stores topped $5.6 billion, up 14.29%, for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, according to SymphonyIRI Group

Industry Posts Strong Sales Gains

Despite the challenging economy, convenience store retailers enjoyed a solid year of growth in key categories like foodservice, frozen beverages and smokeless tobacco. By John Lofstock, Editor. While sales across all retail remained sluggish for much of 2010, the year ended on a relatively good note for c-store operators. Sales and gross margin contributions from

Energy Shot Sales Surge

Although some c-store operators admit to being worried about regulators turning their focus to energy shots, many have voiced the opinion that the category has at least another year of strong growth ahead of it. According to numbers from SymphonyIRI Group for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, energy shots saw a whopping 35.58%

Roller Grills Growing Up

Thanks to a surge of new products focused on ethnic diversity, the roller grill is hotter than ever before. There has been so much emphasis on fresh, made-to-order food and upscale coffee programs in the convenience store industry it’s easy to forget the tried-and-true roller grill. Sometimes implicated as part of the industry’s food-image problem—burned

Tom Joyce To Lead NACS Supplier Board

Tom Joyce, vice president of customer industry affairs for The Hershey Co., has been named 2010-11 chairman of the NACS Supplier Board. In addition, Scott Hill, vice president of convenience sales, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, was named chair-elect and will succeed Joyce as 2011-12 chairman. Joyce and Hill were named to their positions during the

NACS Kicks Off With Opening Session

Engagement, an overriding theme of the NACS Show, was clearly the dominant theme of NACS Chairman Jay Ricker’s Opening General Session address on Oct. 6 at the NACS Show. Ricker encapsulated his past year as chairman with three stories about engagement: with the media, with customers and with elected officials. The first story related to

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