AWMA Conferences Kick Off In June

Provides new tools to help retailers, distributors and manufacturers build sales and profits.

Two consecutive conferences to be held this June by AWMA at the Loews Hotel in New Orleans, La., are set to provide the answers and tools needed for c-store distributors, manufacturers and retailers to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive convenience industry.

The AWMA C-Metrics Convenience Industry Outlook Forum, June 24-25, will present the most current sales data and projections available in the convenience retailing industry through a robust database—C-Metrics, the single largest c-store/SKU level data in the U.S.  Presented will be current sales data and projections from a representative sample of more than 28,000 stores, including both chains and independents, projected to all 149,000 c-stores in the U.S.

The AWMA DEF Harmonizing Assortment Conference, June 25-27, will focus on the use of this data for category management, sales and data management, providing a fresh perspective on the importance of integrating category management and sales operations.

Note to attendees:  The last day to take advantage of the hotel’s special rate of $169 per night for these events is June 11. Call the Loew’s hotel reservations directly at (866) 211-6411 and reference AWMA’s meeting or, visit to book directly online.  Every member of the convenience industry supply chain will benefit.

Both programs are designed for distributors and their teams who are involved in product purchasing, sales, merchandising and marketing decisions. Attendees of the Harmonizing Assortment Conference will receive a discounted rate for attending the C-Metrics Convenience Industry Outlook Forum, which will provide detailed expert analysis into these c-store categories:

•           Cigarettes & E-Cigs – presented by David Bishop, Managing Partner, Balvor LLC.

•            Other Tobacco Products (OTP) – by Nik Modi, Managing Director, UBS Investment Bank.

•            Candy – Kit Dietz, Principal, Dietz Consulting, LLC, lead consultant to AWMA’s Warehouse-Delivered Snacks Committee.

•            Salty Snacks & Alternative Snacks – Steve Montgomery, President, b2b Solutions.

A developing retail shift that requires business strategy changes by all supply chain partners will be the focus of the Outlook Forum keynote address presented by Sandy Skrovan, research director for the U.S. at Planet Retail.  She will explain how changes in the business environment, shopper demographics, technological advancements, and business processes will influence go-to-market retail strategies.

The closing panel discussion will feature convenience industry leaders who will discuss ways that data collaboration among trading partners could improve c-store supply chain efficiency.

Moderated by Bishop, the panel will include:

•            Sonja Hubbard, CEO, E-Z Mart Inc., with nearly 300 c-store locations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas;

•            Joe Hamza, VP sales & marketing, Tedeschi Food Shops Inc., operating 191 convenience stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire;

•            Keith Canning, managing partner, Pine State Trading Co., Gardiner, ME, serving c-store retailers and other customers in New England and New York state;

•            George Abdoo, vice president of business development, S. Abraham & Sons, Grand Rapids, MI, serving retail customers in 10 states from Minnesota to Pennsylvania;

•            Wilson H. Friend Jr., director, trade marketing, Altria Group Distribution Company; and

•            Bill Henry, sales director, Kellogg’s Convenience Team.

The Outlook Forum conference is open to all AWMA distributor members, who may invite two of their retail customers to attend with complimentary registration, and all industry manufacturers who provide products through convenience distributors. These companies should register their category managers, trade relations executives, sales and marketing teams.

The AWMA C-Metrics Outlook Forum will immediately precede the AWMA DEF Harmonizing Assortment conference, to be held June 25-27 also at the Loews New Orleans Hotel.  The conference is intended to help distributors use data to improve category management and profits for themselves and their customers.

Sponsored by AWMA’s Distributors Education Foundation (DEF), the Harmonizing Assortment conference was created specifically for distributors involved in making category management, buying, and sales decisions. Faculty will be Kit Dietz, Principal, Dietz Consulting LLC, and Doug MacKay, President of The Glen Douglas Group, both of whom have long experience in the industry and have worked with AWMA on numerous distributor education programs.

Program topics include:

•            Communicating and implementing category management plans

•            How the consumer shops the c-store

•            Rationalizing assortment building from the core out

•            Making informed decisions through the use of data

•            Merchandising new items and driving center store sales

•            Building consultative selling skills

The education session will train both a category management team leader and a sales team leader from each distribution company. The category management portion should include decision-makers responsible for overseeing product categories, including owners/presidents/COOs, category management team leaders and buyers. The sales portion should include a sales leader who oversees sales representatives.

The conference will reveal key results of yet-to-be published studies that will help distributors and c-store  retailers sharpen strategies for boosting in-store sales through effective category management and merchandising.

For more information and to register, prospective attendees should visit




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