C-Stores Confronting Theft

Organized retail crime (ORC)—defined as professional shoplifting by organized crime rings—is growing, with 83% of 59 merchants surveyed reporting an increase in the past year, according the National Retail Federation’s “12th annual ORC study,” conducted July 20-Aug. 19, 2016. Sean Sportun, ICPS manager, security & loss prevention for Mac’s Convenience Stores in Canada, noted ORC

Accessories Add Up

Certain product categories rarely undergo major shifts, whether it’s a spike in popularity or a significant drop. You can count tobacco accessories among those in that classification. Sales of lighters, matches, pipes and other accessories either register minimal gains, or at the very least don’t lose major ground in year-to-year comparisons. This is good news

What’s the Future of Vapor?

Vaping sales haven’t completely vaporized in the aftermath of deeming regulations passed last fall by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For the time being, vaping and e-liquid c-store sales have maintained an upward trajectory in the convenience channel. Information Resources Inc. (IRI), a Chicago-based market research firm, reported electronic smoking devices earned more than

RYO Remains Viable to Consumers

Roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco should remain a potentially profitable segment throughout 2017, despite lagging sales in 2016. The higher taxation on traditional cigarettes drove many consumers to RYO in previous years, but the increasing parity in taxes since 2009 has prompted a dip in sales. Despite that, solid margins and a growing appeal in the eyes

Smokeless Sales Grow Strong

On Feb. 7, 2017 the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. (USSTC), a division of Altria Group Inc., issued a nationwide recall of numerous Copenhagen, Skoal, Cope and Husky smokeless tobacco product lines after receiving complaints of foreign objects found in containers. “We go through manufacturer product recalls pretty regularly, but this is the biggest one as

Taste is Key With Gum, Mints

Non-chocolate candy sales, which include breath fresheners, mints, licorice and taffy, in convenience stores increased 2.4% in dollar sales, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) Convenience All Scan data for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 25, 2016. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that while mints are providing a category boost, a refresh is needed when it

Whipping Up Chocolate Sales

One word will drive chocolate sales in 2017, experts say: Snackfection. “Think of snackfection as an amalgam of predominantly snack items like fruits, nuts, seeds, pretzels and predominantly confectionery items like chocolate that are used to create a variety of textures and flavor profiles,” said Sheril Retson, category manager, center of store at Chevron. “For

Variety Vital in Seeds, Nuts

Many customers dash into a Maverik convenience store looking for a quick snack to take along on whatever adventure they have planned, whether it’s heading to the office or on a mountain hike. Often they choose a package of seeds or nuts, according to Ryan Morton, category manager for snacks and groceries at Maverik, the

Carving Out Meat Snack Sales

Once beefy, sales of meat snacks at convenience stores are being sliced away by customers’ declining interest in limited flavor and texture options. Dried meat snacks sales in convenience stores experienced a dramatic drop in the last two years. Dried meat snack sales jumped 11.16%, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), total All Scan c-store

Ethanol Fuels Show Promise

Fuel sales have been the backbone of gas station operations since rumble seats were considered extreme in the 1930s. Today, that fact still remains as 80.1% of convenience stores (123,807) sell motor fuels, according to the “2017 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count Study.” Of course, in some 90 years of fuel trends, one of the

Energy Shots Still Compete

Energy shots satisfy the need that drives many customers to convenience stores in the first place: something fast and convenient to help them rocket through their busy day. However, the segment has been overshadowed for the last few years by a dynamic energy drink category. Dollar sales of energy shots, including 5-hour Energy, Stacker 2,

Adding Juice & Tea To the Mix

Both the juice and tea segments have experienced expansion when it comes to flavor innovations as well as more healthful ingredient profiles. Millennials and younger consumers tend to seek out a variety of ready-to-drink tea and juice flavors, according to Los Angeles-based market research firm IBISWorld. Also, tropical flavors like mango and pineapple have been

HBA Items Fill Niche

Because of space constraints and better-equipped competitors, the health and beauty aids (HBA) category in 2017 will fill a role that it has for years in convenience stores: an essential, but unspectacular part of the in-store mix. From pain relief, cough/cold/allergy, skin medications, vitamins and personal care to smoking cessation, supplements and cosmetics, HBA is

Specialty Coffees Are Hot

Like other convenience retailers, Lassus Handy Dandy Food Stores, a subsidiary of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lassus Brothers Oil, is boosting its hot dispensed sales with specialty offerings. Following U.S. consumers’ inclination for more specialty coffees and teas, c-stores are banking on this trend continuing. Coffee sales continued to grow in 2016. Overall servings of both

Roller Grill Reigns Supreme

No matter how many different food items are on a convenience store menu, there’s still room—and a fan base—for roller grill favorites. “The traditional hot dog will always have its place; it will never go away,” said Ted Roccagli, director of partnerships and preferred vendor programs for Dallas-based Empire Petroleum Partners. “But now, customers expect

Fresh Ideas Sell Sandwiches

Grab and go? Made to order? Kristi Patel sees it all as assistant director for retail operations for Iowa State University, which has five convenience stores on its campus. All of the stores offer grab-and-go sandwiches and three also have delis that offer the made-to-order (MTO) option. Some locations also offer the option of toasting

Hispanic Food Offers Opportunity

As the U.S. Hispanic and Latino populations continue to grow, the demand for Hispanic items in c-stores is expected to increase as well. The Hispanic population in the U.S. has grown 43% in the past decade, reported IBISWorld, a Los Angeles market research firm. There has never been a larger or more influential minority than

Chicken Options Span Dayparts

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans are expected to eat close to 92 pounds per capita of the nation’s favorite fowl, making it the most popular center-of-the-plate choice. The National Chicken Council (NCC) noted that chicken consumption per capita has increased nearly every year since the mid-1960s, while red meat consumption has declined.

Cumberland Farm’s Flint Influences Industry

Work with government regulators, NATO and legislative committees are just some examples of Anne Flint’s dedication to helping the tobacco category succeed. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor In February, Anne Flint became the director of category management —tobacco for Cumberland Farms after 16 years managing the tobacco category for the Westborough, Mass.-based chain

Gehrts Reinvents Tobacco at Kum & Go

Years of experience on the manufacturer side has provided Jodi Gehrts a unique perspective on tobacco retail. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor This April marks Jodi Gehrts 24th year in the tobacco industry, first on the tobacco manufacturing side, followed by nearly 10 years overseeing the tobacco category for Kum & Go. For

Vespole Directs QC’s Foodservice Future

After climbing the ranks from a part-time employee to director of food service, Jennifer Vespole knows what it takes to make a food program a success. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor In December 2016, Jennifer Vespole, director of food service, celebrated her 29th anniversary with Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based QuickChek (QC), which operates 148

Turner Making Waves at RaceTrac

Because of his body of work at RaceTrac, CSD recognizes Steven Turner as a Front-runner in Foodservice for 2017. By David Bennett, Senior Editor During his tenure at McDonald’s, Steven Turner saw waves of food trends shake the industry. Some rolled in like tsunamis and some quickly sunk below the surface. “I was at McDonald’s

Reheating Coffee Sales

With so many options available, consumers expect to get their perfect cup of coffee all day, every day. Retailers share tips on how they turned their store coffee bars into daily destinations for brew enthusiasts. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Many consumers associate convenience stores with coffee, and if the coffee program is done right

Chocolate Attracts Snackers

While overall chocolate volume saw a slight dip in 2016, convenience stores helped buoy category chocolate sales. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Despite studies that show the health benefits of chocolate, many consumers have moved away from snacks perceived as unhealthy and toward more health conscious eating. Healthy snacks have become the norm in stores

Cigar Market Remains Competitive

Despite a full-court press from regulators, cigar sales are still on the rebound. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor When the original Tobacco Control Act was signed into law on June 22, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given “authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products.” The government was