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Walmart goes small

Walmart’s prototype convenience store in Bentonville, Ark. reflects a shift in strategy for the retailer, but will it be a game changer for the industry? By David Bennett, Senior Editor As vehicles navigate under the shiny white fuel station canopy, the eye goes immediately to the yellow columns designed to mimic the burst of petals

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Season Sweetens Candy Sales

Will this Halloween be a trick or treat for c-store candy profits? By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Confectioners, such as Hershey, Mars and Wonka, bank on holidays to boost their annual business. After all, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas and Hanukkah combine to generate $7 billion in U.S. sales. Not surprisingly, Halloween accounts for

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Finding a Niche

Vaping products are helping offset declining cigarette sales. Howard Riell, Associate Editor With cigarette sales continuing their seemingly irreversible decline, c-store operators are making up lost dollars with electronic cigarettes and, most recently, refillable vapor tanks. Driving that business forward, however, is a bit trickier than traditional cigarettes, requiring better merchandising and an increased knowledge

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Mind Reading for Managers

How to fully engage your staff in five easy conversations to ensure that everyone is working together as one team. By Kim Seeling Smith, Contributing Editor Did you know that only about one in five of your staff bring their ‘A Game’ to work every day, according to general surveys conducted by the likes of

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Millennials Seek Healthier Workplaces

Experts weigh in on why smart companies are moving to implement workplace wellness programs—and how to start yours. A CSD Staff Report Much has been written about the impact of Millennials on America’s workforce. And it’s true that young people—those born between 1980 and 2000—have very different skills and values from the Gen-Xers and Boomers who

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Re-Imagining the C-Store

While the industry’s sales remain strong, the industry faces challenges from competing retail channels. U.S. retailers can learn a lesson from overseas marketers. By Suresh Bharadwaj, Contributing Editor In 2012, convenience stores outperformed grocery stores and drugstores in the U.S. both by dollar sales and volume growth. They netted $708.2 billion in revenue and $77.8 billion

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Negotiating Contracts with Expertise

Everything is open for negotiation—even prices, schedules and product offerings that seem carved in stone. Wharton School of Business professor Steven Blum said no one has to just accept what’s offered, but first you must hone your negotiating skills. A CSD Staff Report Life is a series of negotiations. While we may realize this in

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5 Times to Launch a Business

Many people want to start or expand their businesses, but feel that “it’s just not the right time.” Business coach Sean Castrina explains why common excuses should be used as motivation to become your own boss. A CSD Staff Report Do any of these scenarios hit home? • Rumors abound that your company is for

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Health and the Hispanic Consumer

C-stores that make an effort to understand the health issues, diet dynamics and cultural considerations of Hispanic consumers can develop healthier retail relationships in the community.  By Sylvia Meléndez Klinger, Contributing Editor As a registered dietitian who has practiced for 30 years, working with health issues that affect the Hispanic/Latino population in the U.S., I

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The Essence of Leadership

Developing a service-oriented retail strategy can create highly successful teams for c-store owners. A CSD Staff Report We all know the types of people who make great leaders, right? They’re the talented ‘wunderkinds’ who are poised to change the industry. Or, are they the industry veterans who have done it all and seen it all?

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Recruit the Best (& Skip the Rest)

If you make the effort to find and recruit the best hourly employees, you will add value to your organization now and in the future because you’re recruiting the kind of people who can give you a competitive edge. By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor When it comes to recruiting hourly employees, the sixth annual Convenience

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Mitigating Risk to Protect Your Business

More and more companies are investing in cybersecurity insurance, which is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, business interruption and network damage. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor The dangers of Internet hacking and cyber thefts continue to make the headlines. This fall, Home Depot discovered a data

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Beautifying Sales

Knowing what women want—and expect—can help c-stores understand how to grow the HBC category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As convenience stores look to attract more female customers, industry figures indicate that the health and beauty care (HBC) category offers retailers an opportunity they might not have considered before. While no one is claiming that

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Rally Those Referrers on Social Media

If your business is providing value to its customers, you already have loyal fans. Annie Tsai explains how to turn them into active referrers who spread the word about what you have to offer—and help you grow your business. A CSD Staff Report Picture this: After a long day’s work, you sink onto the couch

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How Can Employees Show Customers They Care?

It doesn’t take a big-business budget to make customers feel special. All you need is a little creativity and a personal touch. A CSD Staff Report Caring about customers is one of the best ways to differentiate your business and gain long-term consumer loyalty. But how can employers incorporate such a “soft” skill into their operation?

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Are Employees Sabotaging Your Company?

Consultants Julie Miller and Brian Bedford share 10 employee types  whose attitudes and actions are sabotaging your company’s accountability,  costing you money, and sending customers running for the hills. A CSD Staff Report We all know what it’s like to be promised, “I’ll get back to you on that question,” only to never hear another

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Banking on Cigarettes

Declining sales, consolidation and consumer alternatives pose challenges for retailers who rely on cigarette sales to maintain margins. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Cigarettes Are still a vital c-store category despite recent declining sales. Restrictive regulations and new competition in the form of both dollar stores and alternative products like e-cigarettes and vapor tanks are

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Packaging Precision

When mulling food packaging options, label appeal and on-the-go performance are important considerations. By David Bennett, Senior Editor At a time when consumers increasingly perceive private label, food retail brands as competitive with big-name brands in terms of cost and quality, innovative packaging solutions can add value to a convenience store’s take out food program.

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Hola to Ethnic Breakfasts

Handheld, ethnic breakfast offerings, such as tacos, tortillas, empanadas and kolaches, are hot stuff everywhere from quick-service restaurants to convenience stores around the country. Retailers explain how they are spicing up their breakfast sales with these ethnic edibles. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Mexican in the morning is now mainstream, said Aaron Noveshen, founder and

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Menu Makeover

New flavors and small portion snacks can add excitement to an otherwise traditional foodservice menu. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store retailers pursuing proprietary foodservice have the challenge of keeping menus exciting and innovative, while still offering tried-and-true favorites that keep regulars coming back for more. Snacks and appetizers are one menu section where

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Tea for Two…and More

The demand for tea grows as more consumers seek out healthy beverages. C-store chains like QuikTrip are responding by offering up to 10 flavors of fresh-brewed teas. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Texas technology professional Sheryl Thompson spent about a decade drinking four 12-ounce cans of brand-name soda every day. When Thompson wanted to lose

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Top Shelf Retailing

Shelf tags are becoming an increasingly important component of reducing out-of-stocks and providing a better customer service experience. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before heading to his neighborhood gym, Terrance Stewart of Fort Worth, Texas, stopped at a local convenience store to pick up an energy drink. He selected his favorite from the cooler and

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Making Prepaid Pay

Marketing, merchandising and knowing customers’ needs are keys to expanding prepaid profitability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Research indicates that the amount of money spent at retail on prepaid services continues to grow in the U.S. But that may not necessarily mean the category will pay off handsomely for every c-store operator. The total dollars loaded

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Is Loyalty Right For Me?

Experts debate the challenges and benefits of integrating mobile payment and loyalty at convenience stores. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Mobile payment is fast becoming a reality. More c-stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are introducing payment and/or loyalty apps, and the recent announcement of Apple Pay is being heralded as a game changer in the mobile

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Make Sure You’re Secure

With credit card data hackers becoming increasingly innovative and sophisticated in their methods, it’s more important than ever for retailers to comply with current security standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Target, Supervalu, UPS, PF Chang’s and, most recently, Home Depot and even Dairy Queen—American retailers are being victimized

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