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

The Impact of Tobacco Federal Excise Taxes

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

Innovation Drives Frozen Sales

  TOP PERFORMERS Coca-Cola Co. PepsiCo ICEE (J&J Snack Foods) HONORABLE MENTIONS F’Real! Foods Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper Snapple Group) Slush Puppie (J&J Snack Foods) It’s little surprise that The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo were ranked as top performers in the dispensed cold beverages category, but innovators like J&J Snack Foods and F’Real! are certainly

Sunoco Downsizing

Sunoco Inc. said it is selling off 165 convenience stores and gas stations in the Eastern U.S.  The properties are located in selected markets in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Philadelphia-based Sunoco operates a network of approximately 4,700 retail sites—including the APlus

Road Ranger Growing

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

Service Reigns Supreme

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.

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

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

Java Jolts Beverage Sales

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

Riding Out the Economic Storm

Facing one of the most difficult financial crises in the nation’s history, convenience store operators must maximize store performance and drive efficiencies. That old axiom “fall back, spring ahead” takes on an entirely new meaning for 2009. Faced with the worst recession in more than half a century, springing ahead means fighting for survival for

New Jersey ExxonMobil Dealers Unite

By John Lofstock, Editor When ExxonMobil Corp. announced last June that it was getting out of direct-store operations, dealers of its venerable retail brands found themselves at a crossroads. They could either be on the receiving end of the deed to their own properties or be forced to work with a new master and an

Smokeless Tobacco Market Includes New Flavor Innovations And Increased Consumer Demand

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

Maximizing Energy Efficiency

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

Finding Pizza Perfection

Choosing a branded pizza partner means balancing a complex equation that weighs such factors as product quality, financial and logistical considerations, marketing programs, employee training, ongoing support, brand equity and local competition. Suddenly, a cheese pizza isn’t so simple any more. It’s a complex decision that must be made carefully, said Dan Rotherham, director of

Trimming the Red Ink

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

Securing the Convenience Store

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

Remerging Technology?

Zip back to Nov. 4, 2008, when CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer seemed smitten by some techno-spice his network rolled out during its coverage of the presidential election. It went like this: A 3D image of a CNN correspondent in Chicago was beamed to the network’s New York headquarters, where she appeared in-studio as a hologram.

Pumping Up In-Store Sales

A busy salesman on the way to his next appointment pulls into a Spinx convenience store to fill up his tank. It’s almost 1 p.m. and he hasn’t stopped since his day began just before 9 a.m. While pumping fuel, he glances at the color monitor built into the gas pump. He looks closer at

The Tax Train Keeps Rolling

January could not end soon enough. The industry hasn’t seen such a tumultuous month since November 1998 when Congress first turned to tobacco as its financial panacea. Big Brother was at it again last month with the U.S. Senate passing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)—including all of the cigarette and tobacco tax rate

Marketing the Forecourt

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

Divine Disruption

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

How Foodservice Impacts Profits

Dennis Peters has no complaints about the proprietary fresh chicken program at two of his 24 Friendship Foods stores in Ohio. It’s popular, it’s profitable and it’s been a proven concept for the past 12 years. Well, maybe there’s one complaint. It’s a little too fresh. Not “peck-you-on-the-hand-when-you-grab-it” fresh, but certainly fresh enough to see

Meeting the Growing Foodservice Demand

This is what happens: Dad breaks to one side of the store to choose a sandwich from the Hot Spot, which he complements with a cup of hot coffee and a bag of chips.   Mom heads for the cappuccino dispenser, then works her way to a fresh salad kept cool in a temperature-controlled center-island

Energizing Beverage Sales

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

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Multiculturalism in the Marketplace

With the election of the nation’s first African-American president, the time is right to get a better understanding of our consumer base to make sure we’re meeting their needs. Things have been quite difficult for most Americans this holiday season. There have been thousands upon thousands of job layoffs, though the retail sector has weathered

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