The bright light in the bottled water category remains enhanced waters, which consumers looking for more than just refreshment are coming to appreciate. That said, selling enhanced–or any other bottled waters in troubled economic times–means taking greater advantage of supplier programs and doing some savvy marketing and merchandising. The year just passed was difficult on
Tough economic times mean new opportunities and Road Ranger just found one. The Rockville, Ill., convenience store chain entered into operating lease agreements for 15 Fast Break Food Mart gasoline and convenience stores in the Louisville, Ky., market. The deal increases Road Ranger’s network of travel centers and convenience stores to 88 locations in seven
There is no greater ally for convenience store owners than their supplier partners. When retailers boost sales and satisfy their customers, everyone in the supply chain benefits. When Convenience Store Decisions launched its Reader’s Choice Awards four years ago, our premise was simple: To find out just who retailers identified as their top supplier partners.
Sultry Sales One new energy-shot sales trend WSCO’s general retail manager Darrell Looney sees is that some shots are being touted as aphrodisiacs. “The last NACS show was the first time I really noticed the presence of products that specifically spoke to potency and endurance,” Looney said, adding that it’s probably too soon to tell
From movie promotions at 7-Eleven to new flavors, the cold and frozen category is generating some excitement despite the presence of chilly temperatures in many parts of the country. Actually, where you live may well play a large part in what customers want to see in your cold dispensers. Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public affairs
Convenience store operators preparing to expand their health and beauty care (HBC) category in time for the summer months may be facing some challenges. With the moribund economy depressing impulse sales across retail, this may be a bad summer for new products, while tried-and-true brands of medicines, sunscreen, sunglasses and other warm-weather favorites remain strong.
SKU SLEUTH … Rick Cosmer, vice president of retail sales and operations at Mansfield Oil Co. in Georgia, has found cutting-edge back-office systems can offer huge payoffs in terms of data analysis and sales tracking. Cosmer said the most powerful piece of his system allows him to drill down J.D. to individual products to determine
The increase of federal and state cigarette excise taxes will have a far-reaching, negative impact on the convenience store industry. With the exception of petroleum products, no other category is more vital to the industry’s success than tobacco products. Given that cigarettes represent 30-45% of c-store inside sales, the deterioration of this category will have
According to a recent study from the National Coffee Association, more coffee-drinkers than ever before say their favorite brew improves mental focus and provides health benefits. Not surprisingly, consumption of coffee now surpasses that of soft drinks—and while the gap is still narrow, daily consumption of coffee is pointing directionally higher. Young adults are the
Security remains an ongoing concern for convenience store operators, but new technologies and approaches are offering some great help. And great help is a great asset, because there is a lot of work to be done. Bad economic times mean increases in petty theft at retail. In fact, U.S. retailers lost $34.8 billion in stolen
When it comes to convenience stores, every square inch of selling space is precious real estate. And when the inside of a store is fully merchandised, the only place left to go is the forecourt area. Some convenience store retailers have always made good use of the forecourt area—whether or not it featured fuel pumps—to
Here’s an entirely plausible scenario: At around 8 a.m. on a weekday, customers are lined six deep in front of the only open register at your suburban convenience store. The line has screeched to a halt because a deliveryman running late has flanked the clerk at the register and asked her to sign off on
A perfect storm of societal, legislative, retail and economic factors in 2009 appears poised to push sales of smokeless products—the fastest-growing tobacco category—higher than ever. Convenience store retailers and marketers of such leading brands as Copenhagen, Skoal, Redman, Timberwolf, Kodiak, Red Seal, Rooster, Grizzly, Husky and Longhorn have already seen a flurry of activity on
Why waste anything—especially energy? Newer technologies and out-of-the-box thinking are helping trim energy costs, while plain old smart management can bring additional savings. “Most of the time, quite frankly, store operators haven’t even done the most basic stuff that could be saving them quite a bit on operating costs,” lamented John Noel, president of Energy
When the economy falls off a cliff like it did in September 2008, is your business going to survive or even thrive? Most companies reacted to the downturn by cutting the usual costs: training, travel, raises, bonuses, headcount and 401(k) matching contributions. The bad news is these kinds of cuts also put employees in a
Energy Drinks are still growing in double-digit figures, but some retailers feel a little edgy these days because the category isn’t growing at the same exponential rate it has during the past few years. “Don’t get me wrong, energy is a very big category that puts a lot of money into the bottom line,” said
A visit to BP’s ampm stores a few years ago convinced Simon that BP’s established ampm brand—and its decision to divest itself of stores in the Midwest—was an opportunity for Atlas to acquire stores for its own dealers, as well as operate more stores on its own. In December 2007, Atlas forged an alliance with
Cigarettes continue to be the top in-store category based on sales dollars. On a monthly basis, the industry per store average over the past year was $39,127. However, its gross profit contribution slipped to 3.2% to $6,152 falling behind package beverages ($6,526), according to the National Association of Convenience Stores State of the Industry report.
As John Matthews sees it, a store languishing in mediocrity is a store that has become wallpaper in the halls of retail. “Generally, when starting a business, it’s easy to get people excited when its new and fresh,” said Matthews, founder of Chicago-based retail marketing firm Gray Cat Enterprises. “After a few years, though,
Not surprisingly, convenience store industry operators identified the future of tobacco as one of their top five concerns heading into 2010. And with good reason. Operators have entered a period of unprecedented challenges when it comes to selling cigarettes, which means they must find new and innovative ways to market and merchandise this essential product