Dealing with the Long Arm of Government

The onslaught continues. It never ceases to amaze me that why, in these trying economic times, lawmakers insist on introducing legislation that costs retailers sales opportunities. Virtually every chain I’ve covered over the past 15-plus years in this industry has counted on earnings and profits to reinvest in the business. That means buying more real

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Leveling The RYO Playing Field

In recent years, roll-your-own tobacco machines have surfaced at various retail locations putting convenience stores at a competitive disadvantage on price. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor America, and in particular its lawmakers, remains caught in a love-hate relationship with tobacco. That push-pull has resulted in very well-publicized attempts to dissuade Americans from using tobacco, or

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GAO Suggests Equalizing Tobacco Tax Rates

A new report finds shift in using pipe versus roll-your-own tobacco and large cigars versus small cigars to avoid hefty taxes. This week, the federal Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report titled “Large Disparities in Rates for Smoking Products Trigger Significant Market Shifts to Avoid Higher Taxes.” The document shows the impact of the

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New Report Attacks Tobacco Sales, Targets C-Stores

Report by anti-smoking groups condemns c-stores for point-of-sale tobacco marketing. A new report, titled “Deadly Alliance: How Tobacco Companies and Convenience Stores Partner to Market Tobacco Products and Fight Life-Saving Policies” has been released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Counter Tobacco (a project that works to counter tobacco product sales and marketing at the

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Designing a Winning OTP Strategy

Convenience stores have evolved from being a destination for cigarettes to a destination for tobacco products as a whole. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. It was inevitable that the conversation on convenience store cigar sales would shift eventually from rapid growth to supplier relations, category management and marketing. As cigarette regulations and prices and taxes

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A Simple Tobacco Fable

Alternative products are helping to shape the future of convenience store tobacco sets. By Lou Maiellano. Imagine, if you will, that European explorers land in Africa, North America or South America in the 14th, 15th or 16th centuries. Upon landing, these explorers find the inhabitants of these exotic new lands drinking a strange, energizing brew

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July Brings New Tobacco Prices

This summer, many states see increases in tobacco taxes, while a few enact small decreases. Starting July 1, several state cigarette and tobacco tax rates changed due to action by state legislatures, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) reported. Following are updates from NATO on cigarette and tobacco taxes as of July 1.  

Applauding Industry Leaders

By: John Lofstock, Editor. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Those words are about as chilling to convenience store retailers as Navy SEAL Team 6 is to terrorists. But this is the new reality for all marketers of tobacco. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants convenience store retailers to think otherwise.

Even in the face of federal and state taxes, cigarette sales were up 5.21% in 2010.

Dealing With Tobacco’s Cloudy Future

For all the controversy surrounding cigarettes and increased local and federal taxes, cigarette sales fared well in 2010, according to SymphonyIRI Group. For the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, cigarette sales totaled more than $53.5 billion, up 5.21% from the pervious 12 months. Units sold increased 1.52% to slightly more than nine billion. The

NY Cigarette Taxes To Hit $4.35 A Pack

On Monday night, June 21, 2010, the New York Legislature narrowly agreed to increase the state’s tax on cigarettes. The tax is now set to grow by an additional $1.60-to a national-high $4.35 a pack, the New York Daily News reported.   When adding in city and federal taxes, the tax charged on one pack

Forecast Strong for Cigars

Amid all the chaos of legislation, regulation and taxation, it’s good to have tobacco category managers like Gate Petroleum’s Matt Hieb. Hieb’s approach to his chain’s market-leading cigar performance is calm and measured, driven by data, common sense and manufacturer promotions. In 225 locations throughout six southeastern states, Gate’s cigar offering exceeds the southeast market

A Rocky Ride for RYO

Proper Handling Quality counts—especially with tobacco, something c-store operators had better keep in mind. Kevin Paige, owner of three Butthead’s Tobacco Emporiums in Danbury, Conn., said he is trying to distance himself from the c-store channel when it comes to tobacco. “Although I operated my own c-stores for over 20 years, I don’t think the

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

House Passes PACT Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the PACT Act (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act) on a vote of 387-25.  “A significant amount of work has gone into getting this bill passed by both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, and I extend a special thank you to all NATO members for their assistance

Senate Passage of PACT Act a ‘Major Win’ for Retailers

The March 11 Senate passage of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act), which addresses the long-standing convenience store industry concern of tax evasion via remote sellers of tobacco products, is a “major win” for retailers, according to NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith. Authored by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and

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

Cigarette Excise Tax, Ohio Cigarette Tax Changes Bring Higher Prices

An Ohio coalition refutes the findings of a recent report claiming that increasing Ohio’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack would bring the state $299.7 million per year. The report released yesterday, entitled, Tobacco Taxes: A Win-Win-Win for Cash-Strapped States is based on national and state surveys of registered voters. “Any economist will tell you

Smokeless Sales Stay Strong

TOP PERFORMERS Copenhagen (Altria Sales & Distribution/US Smokeless) Grizzley (Conwood/Reynolds America) Skoal (Altria Sales & Distribution/ US Smokel) HONORABLE MENTIONS Longhorn, Red Man and Timber Wolf (Swedish Match) Kodiak (Conwood/Reynolds America) The effect of tobacco taxation and smoking restrictions has made it much more difficult to rely on cigarette sales as the primary category for

Turning to the RYO Category

Since the onset of the April SCHIP tax increase, tobacco retailers have been turning to puffed or extended tobacco to help customers deal with the skyrocketing costs of cigarettes, especially as more customers are turning to the roll your own (RYO) category in an attempt to save dollars. Republic Tobacco’s Gambler is the market leader

Roll-Your-Own Climbs Amid Tax Hit

Mounting cigarette costs are driving smokers to test cost-effective tobacco alternatives, such as roll your own (RYO). The 2009 NACS State of the Industry report, which polled 156 retail firms with 20,553 stores as of December 2008, found that pipe and cigarette tobacco sales had the strongest growth of all tobacco products and were up

The Night They Burned Tobacco Down

Increases on cigarettes have put the category’s long-term viability in jeopardy. By Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions I recently saw a statistic that declared tobacco was no longer king in convenience stores. While that is not yet true for most of us, it’s about to become an indisputable fact. The entire country now gets to

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TOP PERFORMERS Philip Morris USA R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Lorillard Tobacco Co. HONORABLE MENTIONS Commonwealth Brands Inc. Liggett Vector Since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), tobacco taxes and sales from tax-free sources continue to plague the convenience store industry. Cigarettes continue to be the top in-store category based on sales dollars. On a monthly

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.

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

Turbulent Times for Tobacco

Fasten your seat belts because 2009 will likely be one of the most turbulent years for the tobacco industry in recent memory. The outcome of the federal elections has further cemented Democratic control in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and ushered in a new liberal administration with President-elect Obama waiting to be

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