a partner you can trust

Finding the right supplier partners is crucial to convenience store retailers that is only enhanced in this era ofultra competitiveness. That's why Convenience Store Decisions set out to identify the suppliers and manufacturersretailers say are doing the best job meeting their needs as partof our second annual Reader's Choice Awards.

The awards are based on a study conducted by HagenMarketing Research specifically for CSD.

What's so impressive about this study isthat the information gleaned within comes directly from the key decision makers andcategory buyers at more than 100 chains across the country. The data was gatheredboth through anonymous surveys and onsite interviews at headquarters andregional offices, and each chain operates a minimum of 10 stores.

While the Reader's Choice Awardspoint out the outstanding jobs the topsuppliers are doing in 18 fundamentalcategories, there is plenty of work to bedone and a lot more money to be made.The research in this study shows that retailers are not receiving information on newproducts and promotions on a timelybasis or in enough detail. There is work to be done in the supplier communityand I urge both the retailer and supplier communities to use the pages ofCSD to find this valuable information.

The study also showed that greatopportunities exist for all suppliers tothe convenience store market. In the cases where marketers have achieved"preferred supplier" level, the suppliers havedemonstrated high levels of sales calls.These suppliers have also demonstrated a clear understanding of conveniencestore customers' special needs through their services, merchandising, package size,promotional support, distribution andproven sales demand.

Retailers want supplier partners torespond to their needs and to presentinnovative and profitable new ideas thatwill help them be more successful inthis very competitive industry.

Minimum Wage Hike
In another exclusive study featured in this issue, CSD partnered with human resources expert MelKleiman to analyze the impact the federal minimum wageincrease will have on industry retailers as it jumps from thecurrent $5.15 to $7.25 in 2009, the first such increase in morethan a decade.

As far as convenience stores are concerned, entry-levelemployees in urban markets appear to have the most to gainfrom this legislation. On average, CSD/Humetrics research found that c-storespay their employees much higher than thecurrent minimum wage. According to thesurvey, 31% said they start their employeesbetween $7 and $7.99—an hourly rate that'snot only much higher than the current federal minimum wage, but also comparableor higher to the proposed raises. Still, thesurveys revealed that majority of retailers polled (53%) were against anincrease in minimum wage.

Food Focus
Convenience Store Decisions is pleased toannounce our second annualFoodservice Conference and TradeShow, which will be held at theRenaissance Worthington hotel in FortWorth, Texas, June 4-6. TheFoodservice Show was created inresponse to c-store retailers' interest inthis growing and lucrative category. Ourinaugural Foodservice event in 2006 was atremendous success and we have built onthe foundation to enhance and expand theshow in 2007. This year, attendees willhave the opportunity to participate inroundtable discussions, businessexchanges and exhibitor seminars.Moreover, the show floor affords retailers theopportunity to learn more about the latestproducts and technology in foodservice.


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