Prepaid Sales Surging

Whether it’s phone cards, credit cards or prepaid gaming cards being promoted by 7-Eleven, prepaid sales are hot, and retailers would be wise to get in on the action. For example, c-store operators with a high number of ethnic customers could capitalize on the growing reloadable cell phone card market. The top destinations for overseas

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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

Handee Marts Garners Ethics Award

Don’t think customer service makes a difference? Handee Marts’ President and CEO Mike Triantafellou would disagree. Handee Marts, which operates 67 7-Eleven convenience stores in Pittsburgh, was honored recently with the Pittsburgh Business Ethics Award (PBEA), presented by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, in conjunction with the David Berg Center

Building a Beer Strategy

Beer sales have held relatively steady despite the economic maelstrom of the past several months, and one reason is that c-stores are asking for help. Operators are seeking and getting assistance of various sorts from their suppliers in an effort to make up for lost dollars. Help is coming in the form of promotional programs

Growing Snack Sales

Sunflower seeds, which have quietly built a loyal following both as planned and impulse purchases, are garnering more shelf space these days as c-store retailers expand this category. Randy Adams, buyer for Huck’s Food and Fuel in Carmi, Ill., found that sunflower seeds have proven so popular that when he recently completed a nuts and

Concerns Abound for Cigars

The war over tobacco taxes to pay for an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) ended on February 4 when Congress passed the Senate’s version of the bill and new President Barack Obama signed it into law. What that means for c-store operators who sell cigars in an era of a rough

Foodservice Boosts Retail Growth

Not doing foodservice? Then you better start thinking about it. That was the key message from a host of retailers, consultants and foodservice experts as CSD presented its 2009 Foodservice Webcast Series. In fact, just having food items is hardly enough. Chains need to invest in specialty fare and ethnic cuisines in order to differentiate

Driving Car Wash Sales

Doggy Drive Throughs One of the faster growing car wash trends is the do-it-yourself dog wash, which appears largely driven by financial considerations on the part of dog owners. No wonder: With dog grooming salons charging anywhere from $25 to $100 to bathe Fido these days, a $5 or even $10 self-serve alternative is a

Prepaid Cards: The Sky’s the Limit

Prepaid cards have been used in the U.S. for about 20 years, and forward-thinking marketers continue finding new ways to use and promote them. This is a boon for convenience retailers, many of whom have been instrumental in growing the category. Prepaid cards were invented in Europe in the mid-70s when Italians found themselves short

Understanding the Hispanic Market

Describe your perfect customer.  No doubt it would be someone who shops at convenience stores more often, spends more money during each trip and buys across more categories. According to the Greenfield Online/Mintel Hispanic Consumer report, you have just described the Hispanic consumer market. As the current recession continues to put a strain on retailers,

The Singers Strike Gold

The third time is indeed the charm for Bill and Loretta Singer, who own and operate Singer’s Chevron just outside the Oregon border in Walla, Walla, Wash. In 2006, the Singers were presented with Chevron’s “Customer First” bronze award. In 2007, they took home the silver. And, for 2008, they finally laid claim to the

Sweet Opportunity

By Bob Gatty, Contributing Editor If manufacturers, distributors and convenience store retailers would embrace some basic changes and work more closely together, they could realize a potential bonanza of hundreds of millions of dollars in new profit, according to a new joint industry study. That is the message of the soon-to-be released “Convenience, Candy &

Healthy Trends in Kids’ Candy

They came, they saw, they tasted. Dozens of children, ages 8-13, were invited to become junior candy buyers by sampling various candies at ECRM’s Confectionary Efficient Program Planning Session (EPPS) in Dallas. The junior candy buyers were given an inside look at the confection industry from retail buyer attendees that included convenience stores and cross-channel

Light Beers Poised for A Big Year

Think the U.S. leads the world in beer consumption? Think again. Though America has a larger population than beer-drinking countries like Germany or Britain, the winner in this year’s beer sales sweepstakes is a brew many Americans have probably never heard of: A Chinese beer named Snow. “SAB-Miller was going to roll Snow beer into

Focused on the Franchise

BP At a Glance BP is one of the largest integrated oil companies in the world, with an estimated global market share of around 3% of oil & gas production and 4% of refining capacity in the major global markets in which it operates. Its U.S. retailing brands are BP, ARCO and ampm. Global sales:

Can Packaging Boost Sales?

The Anti-Styrofoam Brigade C-store retailers beware. If the current political and regulatory trends continue, you may have to find an alternative packaging that doesn’t contain Styrofoam, and fast. Because non-biodegradable garbage threatens more and more marine and coastal ecosystems as it continues to accumulate in the world’s oceans, California legislators have introduced a bill that

Recovering With New Tax Breaks

Shortly after last November’s election, Thomas Zaucha, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association (NGA) called upon the President-elect to kindle the economy with a stimulus package that included “tax incentives used by retailers and wholesalers to invest in technology, energy saving equipment and trucks for their businesses.” President Obama’s reply, The American Recovery

Cooler Control

Operators looking for greater energy efficiency should cast an eye on their coolers, where centralized controls, lighting adjustments, basic ongoing maintenance and employee training can save them money. “Coolers are typically an opportunity for improvements in maintenance and operational practices,” said Jerry Lawson, national manager for Energy Star Small Business and Congregations Network, a division

Is Green in Your Future?

Being green. You can’t go a day without hearing about it. Escalating energy costs and a renewed awareness of the environment have put green initiatives at the top of the agenda for the global convenience industry. Retail industry leaders such as Walmart and Tesco are setting targets to reduce energy use by at least 20%.

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