Finding Profits with Tobacco Accessories

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates, scheduled to go into effect on June 22, prohibit retailers from selling cigarettes and smokeless products in self-service displays except in age-restricted stores that ban customers younger than 18 years of age. While retailers in some states, such as New York and Idaho, have already had to comply with

Getting Back to Beer Basics

Beer continues to be an essential category for convenience stores and one that requires more than the usual amount of observation, knowledge, planning, execution and overall savvy. According to The Nielsen Co.:• Nearly 787 million cases of beer were sold in the c-store channel during 52-weeks ending March 6, 2010; down 1.5% from 799 million

Marketing the Beverage Bar

While frozen dispensed beverages are not a huge portion of the typical store’s overall sales, the product is proving to be quite profitable, thanks to a gross margin north of 50%. Although the slush-style drink was a c-store original, other retailers recognized its potential, and today, frozen beverages with a variety of names and logos

A Taxing Time for Tobacco

Last year was truly a difficult time for tobacco. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) increased tobacco taxes from a “modest” 158% increase on cigarettes up to a hideous 2,000 plus percentage increase on roll your own tobacco and small cigars. (RYO went from $1.10 per pound to $24.68 and small cigars went from

Sweetening Candy Sales

 Americans’ love affair with chocolate will never end. That said, sales of non-chocolate candy and gum are rising steadily, fueled by the economy and the search for innovative, flavorful new products. “Yes, people are right in calling this a strong category,” said Bill Singer, a principal in Singer’s Chevron Inc. in Walla Walla, Wash. “When

Efficient Exit Strategies Sweeten Candy Profits

Developing an effective exit strategy for candy and reviewing product performance regularly can boost profits in the candy segment. “On a basic level you want to discontinue the slow moving items that rank in the bottom of the category to bring in something new that is going to contribute sales and margins to the category,”

Renewed Optimism for Smokeless tobacco and tobacco chewing products

The simple truth is that no one is certain what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will come up with next now that it has been given de facto control of the tobacco industry. But between bureaucratic control freaks, national, state and local taxes, and even the whispered fear of retailer liability concerns ahead, many

Strength in Numbers

Resilient, tough and tested. These are just a few of the words analysts and retailers alike used to describe the convenience store and petroleum industry over the past 12 months. With the economy suffering its most difficult period in some 80 years, convenience stores held up rather admirably considering how consumer confidence plunged and the

Convenience Industry Holds Strong

When history looks back on 2009 it will not be generous. The U.S. economy was, and to a certain degree, remains locked in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Unemployment is high and the value of the dollar and consumer spending are at near-record lows. While this is bad, it could have been

Competitive Pricing Key to Water Sales

Operators hoping to do well with bottled and flavored waters in 2010 need to understand what both water and bottles mean to today’s consumers. Following a decade of steady growth, bottled water sales in c-stores declined last year as consumer spending lagged due to higher fuel prices and the economic recession. But many retailers and

A Shot of Energy

The “tip of the YEAR” when it comes to selling two-ounce energy shots, said Terry Messmer, merchandise manager for NOCO Express Stores in Tanawanda, N.Y., is to protect margins. “What is happening is that beverage suppliers are very quick to lower the price of the product to get more sales, but we have to still

Cold and Frozen Beverages Offer Promise

Inside the Numbers: J&H Family Express Stores 60+% Profit margin on fountain drinks. $5,000 Amount spent on cold and frozen dispensing equipment per store. 10 Stores Scheduled to have cold/frozen equipment upgraded in 2010. 2 Years Anticipated ROI for the beverage units. 10% Projected percentage of store sales from cold and frozen dispensed beverages with

Brands, Promotions Benefit CSDs

Concern For CSDs 16 million fewer Americans are drinking sugary soft drinks today compared to six years ago (68% of adults versus 76%). 7.8 million switched to diet soft drinks. 24 million have moved to bottled water. 17 million are opting for energy drinks. 11 million have tried sports drinks. 16 percent of Americans are

Juices and Teas Bounce Back

Innovation, health and pricing are some of the factors that will help or hinder c-store operators looking to make money with juices and teas in 2010. While juices and teas have struggled over the past few years, 2009 was sort of a renaissance year for the category as both segments experienced sales gains. Overall, for

Buzzing Over Beer Sales

State of beer: Despite a strong outlook for 2010, U.S. beer shipments dropped by 2.2% in 2009. Thousands of        Barrels Shipped $2,008 2,009 Change Anheuser-Busch $107,025 104,800 ($2,225.00) MillerCoors $64,500 63,300 ($1,200.00) Crown Imports $11,583 11,000 ($583.00) Heineken USA $8,960 8,575 ($385.00) Pabst $5,900 5,700 ($125.00) Selling beer, wine and other adult

Rolling Right Along

Turning a Profit The times have changed. Just as c-store foodservice evolved to meet the needs of fresh, fast and friendly service, so have the items that star on the roller grill. “Gone are the days of the shriveled hot dog, whose origins and expiration date are unknown,” said Tim Powell, the c-store foodservice program

Perfecting Pizza

THE POWER OF PIZZA $38 Billion Estimated total annual sales in pizza restaurants. 70,000 Number of pizza restaurants across the country. $19.6 Billion Total revenue accounted for by the top four pizza chains (Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Caesars) Source: National Association of Pizzeria Operators To do well in 2010 with pizza, convenience store

Flexibility Fuels Chicken

TOP FIVE U.S. Chicken producers Average Weekly Production (in million pounds)    Market    Share %     Pilgrim’s Pride 146 20.30% Tyson Foods 144 20.00% Perdue Farms 55 7.60% Sanderson Farms 42 5.80% Wayne Farms 34 4.70%   Investing in foodservice is a big step for any c-store chain, but if it’s done right, the

Driving Prepared Food Sales

Inside the Numbers: Rutter’s FARM Stores 200+ Number of prepared food combinations available at any given time. 6 New prepared food items added to Rutter’s menu in February 2010. 5 Prepared food items dropped from Rutter’s menu in February 2010. 20% Store sales from prepared foods in the 37 Rutter’s locations equipped with order kiosks.

Capitalizing on Coffee

Opportunity for Growth 54% of the overall adult population drank coffee beverages daily in 2009. Coffee preparation at home is up five percentage points, with 83% of past-day coffee drinkers reporting that they made coffee at home the day before. 80% of coffee drinkers are doing nothing different despite the economic downturn. 17% are visiting

Lighting the Way

Making money in tobacco accessories—lighters, cigar cutters, humidors, pipes, rolling machines, rolling papers and even hookahs—during the months ahead may not be easy, but it can be done. Three ways to do it: offer novel items, stay on the cutting edge of trends and let customers roll their own. The payoff in 2010 could be

Protecting Against Theft

RETAIL THEFT 2009 Employee theft accounted for 35.2% of shrink dollars. 41.2% of retailers worldwide experienced a significant increase in shoplifting in 2009, attributable to the economic downturn. Shoplifting and employee theft in the U.S. cost retailers $42.2 billion from June 2008 to June 2009. Every American family was forced to pay an additional $435

Realizing Prepaid’s Potential

The major prepaid areas c-store retailers are going to want to watch over the next year are general purpose reloadable cards (GPR), both open and closed loop gift cards, and cards for digital media, game and ring tones. The economy especially has spurred the growth of GPR products. “You’re going to see more folks buying

Putting the Back-Office to Work

Inside the Numbers: Zarco 66 8 Number of stores. $35 million Total annual systemwide revenue. $20,000 Cost of its new POS/back office system on the front end. $70,000 Cost of its new POS/back office system on the back end. 25% Percentage of store sales from foodservice at the chain’s first store with the new system

Marketing Cigars in Tough Times

Despite the SCHIP tobacco taxes that hit on April 1, 2009, cigar sales continue to persevere. 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 of 40.26 cents per cigar. The tax