Variety Spicing Up Salty Snacks

Salty Statistics According to a study by The Nielsen Co. that outlined c-store trends, pretzels and popcorn sales saw strong growth during the 52 weeks ended March 21, 2009, with sales for pretzels up $164 million, a 10.1% increase. Popcorn sales totaled $119 million, a 14.3% increase from the previous year. Potato chips lead the

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

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

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

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%.

Functional Focus

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

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

Energy Drinks Holding Strong

Energy Crash Ahead? Driven by studies that demonstrate the adverse impacts high levels of caffeine have, a “truth-in-labeling” movement is gaining strength that may strongly impact energy drink retailers from Maine to California and could raise liability issues for the fastest-growing products in the cold vault.Because energy drinks are marketed as dietary supplements rather than

Bursting With Energy

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

Demographics Driving Cold, Frozen Sales

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

Driving HBC Sales

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.

Choosing the Right ATM

With the number of ATMs in service across America rising and their average transaction dipping for a decade, convenience store operators face a variety of choices in how they choose to deploy them. Viewed as revenue generators or simply services for customers, cash machines present c-store executives with a variety of options and challenges, beginning

What’s Your Solution?

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

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