Cigars Enhance Flavor Profile

The SCHIP tobacco tax rates that hit on April 1 are costing cigar smokers more, but sales continue to persevere. As of April, the federal taxes on large cigars rose from 20.719% of the wholesale price with a tax cap of 4.875 cents per cigar to 52.75% of the wholesale price with a tax cap

Construction Investments Slowing

It’s costing more than ever to build new convenience stores, according to the NACS’ 2009 State of the Industry report. This news comes at a time when the economy is dragging down sales and profits. As a result, operators face a crucial challenge as they try to grow business organically: build or renovate? The answer

Design of the Times

Savvy c-store operators know that everything in a store should be contributing to sales, including displays and fixtures. More retailers are coming to realize that display and fixture design can, if done right, provide the flexibility needed to highlight food offerings as well as dry goods products and keep the sales space fresh, interesting and

A Bear of a Store

With its farmer’s market and original grilled peanut butter menu, Scotty’s Convenience Store and Grill, at the University of California Riverside (UCR) has won the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) “Best in the Business” award for excellence in marketing and merchandising. Scotty’s was one of 38 entries in the competition, which

Demand Grows for Juices and Teas

Tea Truths The U.S. is the birthplace of iced tea. More than 80% of tea consumed here is still sold as an iced drink. Tea sales in the U.S. are expected to exceed a phenomenal $10 billion in 2010 for both beverage and non-beverage categories, according to Worldteaexpo.com In the U.S., 37% of consumers prefer

Nice N Easy Named CSD’s 2009 Chain of the Year

Nice guys do finish first. Nice N Grocery Shoppes Inc., the Canastota, N.Y. operator of 82 convenience stores, was named Convenience Store Decisions’ 2009 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. Nice N Easy will be honored at an invitation-only gala at the Wynn Las Vegas during the NACS Show on Oct. 21.  “The last line

The Rise of the Aztec Empire

San Diego State University At a Glance San Diego State University (SDSU), founded in 1897, is the fifth-largest university in California with a student body of approximately 38,000 full- and part-time students. Its retail arm, Aztec Shops Ltd., was founded in 1932 as a not-for-profit corporation that functions primarily as an auxiliary of the university.

Roll-Your-Own Climbs Amid Tax Hit

Mounting cigarette costs are driving smokers to test cost-effective tobacco alternatives, such as roll your own (RYO). The 2009 NACS State of the Industry report, which polled 156 retail firms with 20,553 stores as of December 2008, found that pipe and cigarette tobacco sales had the strongest growth of all tobacco products and were up

Gum Sales Grow

The retail sector is still struggling overall, but as some segments continue to sink, others rise. American consumers are still buying billions of dollars of candy each year, and this isn’t changing as they resist making major purchases. Even during a recession, American consumers still have a sweet tooth, which explains why gum and candy

Developing a Late Night Menu

C-store operators burning the midnight oil thinking of ways to increase their business may have inadvertently stumbled upon their answer. While late night has grown into an identifiable daypart on its own, too many retailers either haven’t yet recognized it as such or simply don’t have the traffic to warrant promoting it. But for those

Cultivating Loyal Customers

Savvy c-store operators are using customer loyalty/scan-data-analysis programs to improve merchandise planning, forecasting and point-of-sale (POS) data management, and to provide a technology platform for long-term growth. When done well, the inevitable result is to empower store personnel to react quickly, make more informed decisions and improve cost effectiveness, so they can simplify customers’ lives.

Data Security Standards: Are You Prepared?

PCI compliance deadlines continue to barrel toward the convenience store industry, yet many operators are still not up to speed on precisely what they need to do, or how to do it. The Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), developed by the PCI Security Standards Council and endorsed by American Express, Discover Financial Services,

Safe at the Store

The times necessitate that store systems do more–and few store systems are more crucial to a retailer’s success than cash handling and security. While retail technology has focused on point-of-sale (POS) systems that integrate everything from transaction accounting to inventory management, one of the most recent areas of opportunity involves the integration of cash handling

Enhancing Store Security

New Products, Fuel Dispensed Beverages

The cold frozen dispensed category is undergoing some major changes these days, with many c-stores adding milkshakes and even energy slushees to their offerings. The additions continue to make the cold and frozen dispensed category one of the hottest in the convenience store industry. “We’ve had great success with using energy drinks like Monster, Rock

Role of Technology Expanding

Whether it’s PCI compliance, overcoming high credit card fees or getting more out of a current point-of-sale (POS) system, investing in technology has never been more important for c-stores. With PCI compliance deadlines looming, many operators are still not up to speed on what they need to do, or how to do it. The Payment

Competition Heats Up for Coffee

Did You Know? Data released by the National Coffee Association shows the market penetration for coffee has surpassed that of soft drinks, reversing a 20-year pattern. Fifty-seven percent of American adults drink coffee daily versus 51% for soft drinks. Coffee drinking among 18-24 year-olds also jumped 6%, the fourth year in a row for such

Tracking the Trends

An otherwise tough year for convenience stores was balanced out by strong retail fuel margins from the unprecedented drop in wholesale fuels prices during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to National Association of Convenience Stores’ (NACS) 2009 State of the Industry report. However, credit card fees continue to take a toll on industry profitability.

Dipping Into New Profits

In a market plagued by high taxes, declining gross margin profits on cigarettes and the likely possibility of FDA restrictions on tobacco, retailers more than ever need to manage the tobacco category more closely. It’s no secret that the smokeless category has been growing, with big year-on-year gains in new product sales, flavors and line

New Products Power the Roller Grill

Tough times call for creative measures. The stagnant economy and hefty cigarette taxes have more c-store chains expanding their foodservice segments and adding more roller grill items to provide a greater array of hot food options at a value price to sustain loyal customers. “Customers automatically associate c-stores and roller grills. It’s been a source

The Coffee Battle Brews

Convenience store operators need to focus on meeting consumer demand for a quality cup of coffee as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Caribou all announced plans to step up their brew programs to reel in consumers during a tough economy. About 54% of the adult population in the U.S. classify themselves as coffee consumers, according

Taking Convenience to a New Level

The milkman is making his rounds in Mountain Top, Penn. Good2Go is enhancing its convenience offering by providing residents the option of having fresh, all-natural and organic products delivered directly to their front doors. When partners Awais Ahmad, V.J. George and Thomas Job opened the store in September 2008, they had no idea how popular

Pizza Palates Changing

Fast Facts About Pizza • Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or about 350 slices per second. • Pizza is a $30 billion per year industry. There are approximately 69,000 pizzerias in the U.S. Approximately three billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year. (Source: Blumenfeld and Associates) • Pizzerias represent

Bottled Water Holds Strong

Proprietary Brands Prosper With consumers seeking less expensive options, private label sales are increasing across all channels, but struggling in c-stores, where they brought in $3 billion in sales, but were down 3.3% compared to last year, for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 21, 2009. In contrast, Wal-Mart’s private label sales were up by 10.8%,

Flexibility Boosts Chicken Sales

Did You Know? Results from the 2008 Consumer Market for Chicken 1,000 Household Survey found that 23% of respondents had purchased rotisserie chicken in four weeks prior to the survey. Consumers with an income of $75,000 or more are the most likely purchasers of rotisserie chicken (31%). Those with an income of $30,000 to $39,999

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