VPS Convenience Store Group Plans Aggressive Expansion

Sun Capital’s c-store division is bulking up its foodservice operations and rolling out new tobacco stores across the Southeast. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With two acquisitions under its belt already this year, VPS Convenience Store Group, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., is poised for additional growth, with its eyes focused on opportunities

Commissary Sales Gaining Momentum

While commissary products are growing in popularity at c-stores, not all retailers are at the same level. Luckily, options abound in ways to integrate commissary products for all quartiles. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Commissaries and a centralized distribution system are becoming more popular across all foodservice segments in both convenience stores and supermarkets as

Driving Snacks Sales

While private label products are improving, quality and value remain critical components for all snacking options. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “Yes, but…” That’s the all-too-common answer to the question of whether or not price promotions can drive snack sales in convenience stores. Yes, in a lousy economy people look for and respond to savings.

Energy Sales Soaring

While there may have been some concerns about the growth of shots and full-size cans, analysts report the category has never been stronger. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Brent Howard isn’t just a retailer of energy drinks and shots. He’s a user. Division manager for Sun Pacific Energy in Kennewick, Wash., Howard has seen the

Foodservice Equipment Opens Doors for C-Stores

More and more operators are embracing bakery production and merchandising challenges to create fresh-baked opportunities. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. With tobacco sales in decline and gasoline prices volatile, convenience stores are looking to other categories to draw more customers and improve profitability. Foodservice in its varied forms—from simply hot coffee and frozen beverages to

The Science of Scan Data

As retail technology evolves, convenience store operators have the tools to turn sales figures into actionable information. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Thanks to advanced technology, retailers can now collect data at the point of sale that tells them what is moving out of their stores, when it sells, who buys it and at what

Smokeless Sales Show Promise

While managing new products and planograms is vital, retailers will need to keep an eye out for federal tax increases and FDA intervention over the next 12 months. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokeless tobacco has outperformed expectations for three straight years—which, while good, leaves many in the industry fearing it’s only a matter of

Strong Demand for Cigars

Flavored and single-serve cigars represent a real opportunity for convenience stores to boost tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With flavored cigarettes no longer available in the U.S., flavored cigars are in line for sharp sales gains. But with FDA having declared last year that it’s got the cigar industry in its sights, retailers

Developing a Fuel Strategy Amid Soaring Costs

High gas prices mean more headaches for retailers. Experts weigh in on the best ways to survive the market volatility. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With gas prices skyrocketing, retailers are feeling the squeeze from every angle. But there are unique opportunities for savvy retailers to reduce fuel expenditures, which will afford them a better

Focusing on Foodservice

Burgers, brats and sausages continue to drive sales among core convenience store customers. By John Lofstock, Editor. While customers may say they want healthy and organic foods, a Technomic report found that 91% of consumers said they eat a burger at least once a month and 44% have a burger at least once a week.

Lighting the Way to Profitability

A wide array of tobacco accessories to complement cigarettes and cigars shows customers you’re serious about tobacco and incites impulse sales. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Many retailers recognize that it’s beneficial to step out from behind the counter to teach customers about smokeless alternatives and educate them on e-cigarettes, but taking the same approach

Tobacco Forges an Electronic Transformation

E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, but for convenience stores they are beginning to make a big impact on sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes show promise as a growing tobacco subcategory, two issues are threatening its widespread growth. One is the looming threat of government regulation, which most agree is inevitable,

The Business of Branding

With companies across all retail channels vying for convenience customers, the pressure is on c-store operators to protect their market share. By Greg Ehrlich, Contributing Editor. As the convenience store industry continues to evolve, one area that is demanding greater attention is brand image. Once a concern primarily for larger chains, brand image is a

Empowering Loyalty Customers

Retailers are energizing their rewards programs and using social media to keep loyalty customers active. The modern loyalty program may be 28 years old, but in a saturated market, chains are turning up the creativity to gain customer attention by pushing game-based promotions, cause marketing, discounts on fuel and using social networking to drive interest.

Serving Today’s Smokers

Led by the Gallagher family, Smoker Friendly continues the fight to sell tobacco legally and responsibly. By John Lofstock, Editor. While the federal government seems intent on eliminating tobacco products altogether, tobacco remains a legal product in the U.S. enjoyed by legal-aged adults exercising their right to smoke, dip or chew. The right to enjoy

Fuel Rewards Luring Customers

With gas prices rising, loyalty programs are rewarding customers with steep discounts. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With fuel prices approaching record highs in May, customers were thinking carefully about where they stop for gas and are paying more attention to rewards programs that offer cents-off fuel gallons purchased. Convenience store chains are responding with

Maintaining Cigarette Sales

Despite taxation and regulation, convenience store retailers remain optimistic about this lucrative category, though a potential ban on menthol products is looming. By John Lofstock, Editor. In an era in which the sports page sounds like the business page, talk of selling cigarettes inevitably sounds like political rhetoric. When c-store operators talk cigarettes these days

Tobacco Sales Rolling Along

As consumers embrace roll your own (RYO) tobacco, retailers are seeing a boost in sales of accessories such as rolling papers, cigarette tubes and rolling machines. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokers seeking a safe harbor from cigarette tax increases have made port in the roll your own (RYO) segment. Many have been pleasantly surprised

Flourishing After the Floods

After suffering extensive water damage at its Nashville, Tenn., store, TravelCenters of America has reopened the unit with a new look and a host of modern features. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Just a year ago, the TravelCenters of America truck stop in Nashville, Tenn., fell victim to the historic flooding that ravaged Middle Tennessee

Taking Foodservice From Good To Great

With fresh food sales booming, operators are turning their attention to take-out packaging and finding that with so many options available, choosing the proper solution can be as tricky as selecting the foodservice program itself. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Convenience store foodservice programs have been big business and growing for a decade thanks to

Surging Demand for Ethnic Foods

With the growth of specialty restaurants, consumers today are exposed to new foods they may not be used to finding locally, and it’s creating a demand at convenience stores. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Ethnic offerings are driving foodservice sales at convenience stores hoping to diversify beyond basics like hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches. But

Poultry Fuels Healthy Food Sales

Whether it’s sandwiches, wraps or salads, chicken’s flexibility allows for a variety of healthy menu options. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience stores are going fresh and healthy, but not quickly enough for consumers, a new research report suggests. Convenience stores have been a growing outlet for produce, but consumers want more. More than half (52%),

Targeting Convenience Store Customers

MSA and Paradigm Sample, in partnership with Convenience Store Decisions, are gaining insights into the shopping patterns of today’s c-store customers. By Trish Temmerman, Management Science Associates (MSA). Tough economic times and stiff competition across the supply chain make it even more critical for convenience store operators to have a solid understanding of their customers,

Healthy Options for All Income Levels

As the wellness market matures, consumers across all demographics are looking to manage any number of specific health concerns. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. When Bob Sickles was growing up on his family’s New Jersey farm, he ate plenty of homegrown produce and acquired an affinity for non-processed foods. “Of course, we had Pop Tarts

Building Bottled Water Sales

The cold vault is overrun with new products and traditional favorites. Chains can’t afford to waste cooler space on brands that don’t sell. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Water continues to briskly flow into and out of convenience stores. It’s bottled, it’s branded, it’s often flavored and, increasingly, it’s infused with ingredients that are good

css.php