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High Protein, High Profit

Can meat snacks continue to serve up healthy sales for c-stores? By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor “High in protein.” “Natural ingredients.” “Low sugar.” Analysts insist these are some of the top buzz descriptors that today’s consumers look for when contemplating snacking options. Even popular workout programs like P90X push high-protein meal plans and trending

Taipei, Taiwan - January 8, 2012: This is a studio shot of a can of Rockstar Energy Drink made by Rockstar Inc. isolated on white.

Are Energy Drinks Still Delivering Oomph?

Demand for energy drinks continues to push sales upward, making the category a star performer. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Energy drink sales are up, even as larger, more established, mass-market categories like carbonated soft drinks and fruit beverages have dipped. For convenience store operators, the message couldn’t be clearer. “Energy drinks experienced solid volume

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How To Entice Customers With Frozen Drinks

Bundling and smart marketing help keep frozen dispensed beverage sales hot as summer arrives.  By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Sales of frozen dispensed beverages in convenience stores show no sign of slowing down, with flavor extensions and in-store marketing resonating with consumers of all ages. “The frozen dispensed category at convenience stores continues to soar

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What Issues Are Ahead For Convenience Retailers?

Jack Kofdarali, president of J&T Management in California, discusses the obstacles retailers will face over the next year and the benefits of political advocacy. By John Lofstock, Editor The convenience store industry continues to evolve, becoming a bigger part of the American consumers’ daily lives. In 2014, the industry again experienced solid growth recording $697.5

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What’s in a Brand?

Convenience retailers come and go; that’s the reality of the business. However, some brands seem destined to endure. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Arguably, it’s taken the convenience store industry two decades to catch up to the illustrious White Hen Pantry chain that sprang from Chicagoland. At its peak, White Hen was comprised of 300

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Judging the New and Unique

 Drawing Duchess Shoppe customers in Ohio, CSD recently rolled out a products competition that evaluated the latest in snacks, sweets and drink offerings. By David Bennett, Senior Editor hielded from the mid-Ohio sun by a spacious tent erected in the parking lot, the curious and the eager, the young and the old weighed what goodies

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Fresh Food Phenomenon

Convenience stores continue to meet consumers’ growing penchant for healthy food options. By Michele Wojciechowski, Contributing Editor If you think many convenience stores are offering more fresh and healthy food choices for consumers, you’re right. It’s possible to provide these kinds of food options while still appealing to customers who may not be quite as

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Competitive Data Analysis

The key to better business is in the numbers. How do yours stack up? By Traci Dawn Carneal, Contributing Editor Anymore, data analysis in the convenience store industry is as accepted as loss prevention tools and loyalty programs. Like other operational strategies, it’s how a c-store uses such technology that often forecasts how much benefit

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ATMs: Dollars and Sense

Even as payment technologies advance, ATMs are here to stay and are expected to evolve even more in terms of customer services. To cash in, convenience retailers must decide which management model works best for them. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor As credit card companies seek stronger security by adding chips to cards, and companies

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Soup Up Your Sales

As a snack, appetizer, side or main meal, soup sells steadily throughout the day and—surprisingly enough—in the morning. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It may not be as enticing as a piled-high sandwich or as full of pizzazz as a generously topped pizza but, in its own quiet way, soup is a fresh foodservice workhorse.

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Deli Can Equal Destination

Whether grab-and-go, made-to-order or both, deli had better translate to delicious to persuade consumers to make your c-store a foodservice destination. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Consumers might not expect to find a “gourmet” deli inside a convenience store, but that’s just what they get at Bolla Market locations around New York City and Long

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Salty Snacks Still Tops

Even as better-for-you products gain popularity, chips and salty snacks remain top-sellers. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Between media reports and industry data, it’s clear that today’s consumers want better-for-you (BFY) choices when it comes to snacking. More and more, Americans are looking to replace sugar and fat with protein and all-natural ingredients. On

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How To Achieve The Right Candy Mix

Innovation is a key for enticing Millennials and Gen Z customers, but staple products continue to drive the candy category. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Even as ‘healthy’ becomes a growing call, candy customers continue to want indulgent options. Convenience store retailers are succeeding in driving candy sales with a balance of tried-and-true products and

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Don’t Label E-Cigarettes Just Yet

Not unlike killers of spiders, anti-smoke groups and some lawmakers are moving quickly to stomp out e-cigarettes without really knowing what effect the act will have. By Jim Calvin, President, New York Association of Convenience Stores Some people have responded to the emergence of e-cigarettes the way they might react to seeing a spider on

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Tobacco’s Future Muddy for Merchants

In more ways than one, tobacco’s pie is shrinking. The net result for convenience stores could cut either way. By Carl V. Phillips, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association The future is bright for tobacco consumers. Sure there’ll be some bumps along the way as tobacco control dead-enders fight their desperate

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2015 Legislative and FDA Regulatory Update

Of all the different tobacco legislative bills introduced this year, two themes have emerged: increased tobacco taxation and greater scrutiny of electronic cigarettes. Both issues will shape the tobacco offering at convenience stores for years to come. Tom Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) sat down with Convenience Store Decisions

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Tobacco Category Update

Industry experts sketch out why the tobacco category is as robust as ever. By Mary Szarmach, NATO President The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) Show held in Las Vegas this past April was an ideal place for retailers to learn about market trends on all tobacco product categories. I had the opportunity to personally

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Implementing ADA Compliance Changes

Having the tools to take charge of ADA compliance before a lawsuit mandates your chain to do so, gives retailers more control over how the process is handled. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience Store Decisions recently sat down with Brad Gaskins, managing principal of the McIntosh Group. Gaskins is well versed in the Americans

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Exploring Tobacco’s Future

As cigarette sales drag, OTP segments are filling the gap. For real momentum, however, e-cigs are breaking away from the pack. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Except for automobiles, processed food and banking perhaps, few U.S. industries have encountered the vast market influences that tobacco has. In the past century, the tobacco industry has been

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Don’t Blow Off Cigarettes

Cigarette sales have been steadily declining, but the category is too big to ignore and too lucrative to disappear any time soon. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Since cigarettes sales have been slowly falling the last few years, convenience retailers have invested in foodservice and other ventures to help balance in-store revenue—which seems a wise

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How to Push Smokeless Sales Higher

Smokeless tobacco sales continue to grow at convenience stores, which are pressing their advantage over competing retail channels. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor While the overall cigarette smoking prevalence has declined in recent years, the overall use of smokeless tobacco has remained strong. That’s good news for the convenience store channel. The main types of

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How E-Cigs Are Spurring A Growing Market

While stakeholders await finalization of possible regulatory policies, convenience stores tap into e-tobacco’s vast potential. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor If one were to describe the current state of the e-tobacco industry, “mixed results” might be the most accurate description. On one hand, year-to-year pricing for the past 12 consecutive periods is down, according

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How Good Supply Can Lead to More Cigar Sales

C-stores are learning that good supply and staying attentive to customer purchasing patterns are driving cigar sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Cigar sales are trending upward and c-stores are responding in kind by adding SKUs, honing assortments, maintaining prices, offering fresher product in resealable packs and stocking a popular, ever-expanding variety of flavors. IRI’s

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How C-stores Can Capitalize on The Vaping Trend

In the fast-growing vaping marketplace, c-stores are discovering where they fit. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor It doesn’t seem that long ago that vaporizers comprised a little-known product category for convenience stores. Really, this segment of the non-combustible electronic nicotine devices (ENDs) industry was just revving up. Today, vapors/tanks/mods (VTMs) have locked onto the

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How To Profit With A Pizza Program

While quick-service restaurants have been struggling with flat or slumping pizza sales over the past few years, convenience stores have been experiencing double-digit growth in the segment. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Based on a premise that more options would lead to more sales, Pizza Hut has amped up its menu to give consumers twice

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