The first half of 2020 has really gotten our attention. Lots going on in the world and many changes to our idea of “normal”. However, the United States of America was founded on ideals of freedom, justice, and liberty, and each 4th of July the nation takes a moment to reflect on those ideals and celebrate the country’s independence. This year it will be different but we will still celebrate.
This post was inspired by our team member Melanie Lauramore from Trophy Club, TX where she is the neighborhood captain of their “Trophy Club Stars and Stripes” 4th of July Flag project. Trophy Club Stars and Stripes was introduced to the town in 2011 and has become an annual tradition of residents working together to line the streets of Trophy Club with American flags. Beginning July 2nd, residents and visitors again have the opportunity to experience a display of 35,000-40,000 flags waving throughout the town as they drive, bike, walk, and jog through the streets of Trophy Club. The highly Patriotic sight makes one proud and thankful for sacrifices made by men and women around the world who protect America’s freedoms. This is truly the season “to unite the Town of Trophy Club in the spirit of American Patriotism”. Thanks Melanie for your passion and your part in teaching these important values to your children.
Our InsightRS Team, that is located across the United States, sends our best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday. We want to say thanks to each and every customer, vendor and friend that we work with. We appreciate you all.
Here’s a photo greeting from our team members in Trophy Club, TX – Roanoke, TX – Minden, LA, – Tampa, FL – Augusta, GA – Trenton, SC – Town of Day, NY – Blacklick, OH & London, KY
Today we spoke to a valued backOffice™ Software and InsightRS Scan Data customer, One Stop Liquor in Bellevue, Kentucky. They reported that business has been good during this pandemic but the latest struggle has been getting change for their registers. They typically purchase change each week but now this is not an option due to allocation of coin inventories at the banks.
So what do you do?
You depend on your awesome customers! They simply put a sign at the registers saying “We need change” and their customers responded quickly. In one short week they were able to purchase two full weeks worth of change. People working together is so valuable right now.
Temporary coin order allocation in all Reserve Bank offices and Federal Reserve coin distribution locations effective June 15, 2020
The COVID‐19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees. Federal Reserve coin orders from depository institutions have begun to increase as regions reopen, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory being reduced to below normal levels. While the U.S. Mint is the issuing authority for coin, the Federal Reserve manages coin inventory and its distribution to depository institutions (including commercial banks, community banks, credit unions and thrifts) through Reserve Bank cash operations and offsite locations across the country operated by Federal Reserve vendors.
The Federal Reserve is working on several fronts to mitigate the effects of low coin inventories. This includes managing the allocation of existing Fed inventories, working with the Mint, as issuing authority, to minimize coin supply constraints and maximize coin production capacity, and encouraging depository institutions to order only the coin they need to meet near‐term customer demand. Depository institutions also can help replenish inventories by removing barriers to consumer deposits of loose and rolled coins. Although the Federal Reserve is confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns, we recognize that these measures alone will not be enough to resolve near‐term issues.
Consequently, effective Monday, June 15, Reserve Banks and Federal Reserve coin distribution locations began allocating coin inventories. To ensure a fair and equitable distribution of existing coin inventory to all depository institutions, effective June 15, the Federal Reserve Banks and their coin distribution locations began to allocate available supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure. The temporary coin allocation methodology is based on historical order volume by coin denomination and depository institution endpoint, and current U.S. Mint production levels. Order limits are unique by coin denomination and are the same across all Federal Reserve coin distribution locations. Limits will be reviewed and potentially revised based on national receipt levels, inventories, and Mint production.
Great article from CStore Decisions. A bit lengthy but there is some great information here. Nice @Nielson information also.
Rising sales are boosting retailer optimism across the category, but regulatory hurdles loom.
Tobacco sales have proved a bright spot for many convenience stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, but while c-stores anticipate robust tobacco sales for the remainder of 2020, retailers are bracing for the potential chill of regulatory headwinds.
As the pandemic first hit the U.S., many customers began hoarding tobacco products — particularly cartons of cigarettes — ahead of shelter-in-place rules, according to data from the InfoMetrics database managed by consulting services firm Management Science Associates (MSA).
“As the stay-at-home situation has continued, there has been increased consumption of all types of tobacco items with the exception of vape, possibly because consumers are at home and not in locations where there are restrictions on its use,” said Don Burke, senior vice president of MSA.
A poll by consumer intelligence research platform CivicScience found that from April 28 to May 11 — at a time when most areas of the country were still experiencing stay-at-home orders — 31% of cigarette users reported smoking more frequently, and 28% of e-cigarette/vape users reported vaping more frequently. Some 44% of cigarette smokers and 34% of smokeless, e-cig and cigar users reported buying their tobacco product at a c-store most often during the same period.
Research firm IRI’s Convenience All Scan data found smokeless tobacco dollar sales grew 7.8%, with spitless up a whopping 80.6% for the four weeks ending April 19, 2020. Tobacco accessories dollar sales were up 33%, and cigars climbed 13.1%, while cigarettes dropped 2.4%, and e-cigs dipped 1.1% for the same period. Nielsen data showed e-cigs down 8.5% and cigarettes down 5% for the four weeks ending April 25, 2020, but similar upticks in other tobacco products, with cigars up 11.3%, pipe tobacco up 14.1% and “shag” or rolling tobacco up 28%.
Depending on location, c-store retailers are seeing various realities and differing surge/decline timelines when it comes to tobacco sales.
Doug Galli, vice president and general manager for Reid Stores and Crosby’s, said sales of other tobacco products (OTP) including cigars, snuff and e-cigarettes climbed at the company’s 82 c-stores in New York and Pennsylvania, ahead of shelter-in-place rules.
Year over year through April, “cigars are up 7%, e-vape is up 29% and the ZYN/Velo category that was non-existent last year has shown some legs. That category is 50% of the lift over last year,” Galli said. He added that moist snuff was down slightly for the same period.
On Feb. 6, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that c-stores and other retailers can no longer carry display cartridge-based e-cigs or vaping pods in flavors other than menthol and tobacco, but flavored disposable e-cigarettes are still legal.
“The FDA attempted to strike a balance between protecting adult access to flavored vaping products and discouraging youth from vaping,” noted Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “Unfortunately, this move has undoubtedly led some adult ex-smokers to relapse and less adult current smokers to attempt to switch over.”
The growth seen at Crosby’s c-stores is “in spite of the (federal) flavor ban in (non-disposable) e-cigs and vape products, along with the addition of the ZYN/Velo products,” Galli added.
The cigarette segment, meanwhile, has been down 10% at Crosby’s c-stores through April, a slump Galli attributed to the purchase age for cigarettes increasing from 18 to 21 on Nov. 1, 2019, in New York state. Shortly thereafter, on Dec. 27, 2019, the FDA officially changed the minimum tobacco purchase age at the federal level from 18 to 21. The new nationwide Tobacco-21 law was effective immediately and applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges.
Across the country, Cenex Zip Trip saw a different trajectory at its 36 c-stores in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
“While early March and April saw a small decrease in tobacco sales during the heart of the stay-at-home orders in the states we serve, in the past three weeks, we’ve seen them rise back similar to what we sold during the same time span a year ago,” said Zip Trip Merchandising Manager Jon Fleck.
Montana — where the majority of Zip Trip’s stores are located — is now transitioning into the next phases of loosening stay-at-home restrictions, but during the lockdown, despite decreased customer traffic, the tobacco category held its own, Fleck said.
Fleck noted tobacco companies are offering bigger buydowns and providing them earlier than planned. “With advertising these deals with outdoor signs and matrix reader boards, we have seen some (sales) come back,” Fleck said.
At the end of 2019, a temporary ban on flavored vape products — including menthol — went into effect in the state of Montana. “We did a tremendous business in Montana with flavors prior to the ban,” Fleck said.
The ban on menthol, however, expired in mid-April, and the chain is now bringing in some flavored disposable e-cigs.
Given the Montana flavor ban, Zip Trip has seen a 20% drop in e-cig sales. Although the e-cigs/vaping segment is down significantly because of flavor bans, Fleck noted, “the category is doing well as a ‘comfort product’ along with beer during this pandemic.”
Meanwhile, chew, snuff and cigars are down slightly — “which isn’t bad considering the drop in customer counts (due to the pandemic),” said Fleck. “We categorize tobacco alternatives with these products as well. ZYN, Dryft, etc., have been a pleasant surprise that has picked the overall category up.”
At Zip Trip, tobacco customers are asking for specials, and seeking “the bigger, better deal.” “Similar to beer, cigarettes are comfort products, so while we did a small decrease in business during this time versus the prior year, we attribute most of that to the smoking age increasing to 21 as opposed to COVID-19,” Fleck said.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Irfan Tejani, CEO and president of Tejani Holdings, the parent company of Charge Up c-stores, said COVID-19 had a big impact on tobacco sales.
“Sales were down all across the board by double digits as customers did not know how to react to the entire situation, and then we started to get momentum back,” he said.
Headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, Charge Up operates 40 c-stores in Texas and Louisiana.
“Louisiana stores specifically had to adapt to operating during a strict lockdown,” Tejani said. Overall, he noted that “despite the ongoing restrictions, the cigarette category remains the highest grosser all across (our stores).”
Smokeless tobacco has been stagnant to growing at Charge Up, depending on the location, while cigarillos are “very strong,” particularly the single sticks, which Tejani noted offer good profit margins. What’s more, he sees cigarillo sales growing — “especially the singles and promo packs like 3-for-1 and 4-for-1 packs,” Tejani said.
Charge Up is also testing the oral nicotine category. Nicotine toothpicks are sold at select stores.
“It’s a special category that doesn’t sell across the board,” he said. “Nicotine gums seem to be doing good where this category is sold.”
Tejani, Fleck and Galli all anticipate strong sales for tobacco for the rest of 2020.
“Tobacco in our New York stores is about to grow. Effective May 18, if your retail location has a pharmacy, you will not be allowed to sell tobacco products,” Galli said. Crosby’s stores in Erie County, N.Y., experienced a lift in their tobacco sales when an identical rule went into effect there around a year ago.
Tejani said he believes the tobacco category will continue to stay strong and consistent over the coming years — unless regulations become even stricter — with e-cigs slowly taking over a bigger portion of the category. Despite ongoing regulations, customer needs drive the market, and customers continue to demand tobacco sales, he pointed out.
“We see tobacco numbers increasing the rest of the year, as many uncertainties lie ahead with COVID-19,” Fleck said. “Once again, for tobacco users, it is a comfort that they rely on during these times.”
One headwind for retailers to watch is potential for tax increases on tobacco products due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is creating serious budget issues that we’re only just now starting to calculate. States that had started to grow accustomed to having large surpluses now have huge deficits that may surpass what states dealt with during the 2009 recession,” Conley pointed out. “As a result, tax increases on all tobacco and nicotine products are absolutely going to be considered in dozens of states over the next year. On the plus side for retailers, budget deficits will make it more difficult for state legislators to justify banning flavored vaping or tobacco products due to the tax revenue and jobs they provide.”
Another is how the premarket tobacco authorization (PMTA) will impact the category.
At press time, the new date when (PMTA) applications are due to the FDA is set for Sept. 9, 2020.
“In theory, this would mean that after the September deadline, only products with pending or approved PMTAs before the FDA can continue to be sold by retailers across the U.S. Those selling JUUL, NJOY, Vuse, blu, etc. have little or nothing to worry about in terms of potential dead stock, but some of the more fly-by-night companies that make disposable vaping products seem likely to exit the market in September,” Conley warned.
For a while, the shelf space for vaping products in c-stores seemed to be increasing by the month, he said. But now that some products are likely exiting the market ahead of the PMTA deadline, “the opposite appears to be occurring.”
Conley believes states will begin to police the market more aggressively than the FDA. “We are going to see attempts at the state level to make selling products without a pending or approved PMTA a crime. Of course, this will not stop the black and gray markets, but will just drive them further underground,” he said.
Insight Retail Software began Scan Data Services in early 2016 and the results have been tremendous.
We are proud to have served our customers for over 3 YEARS submitting scan data for Altria and RJ Reynolds. Insight Retail Software has more experience in the Tobacco Scan Data space than any other company in the industry.
More to come on this backOffice™ Customer but as the Milk House adds their 4th store they also add creativity to the ever changing market of flavored tobacco products. Where there’s a will…… there’s Derek Medved.
DULUTH, MN– Another business in Duluth has found a workaround when it comes to the city’s restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products.
The Korner Store also known as the Milk House in Gary New Duluth is following the lead of the Holiday Station store on Central Ave. in creating a separate room within the store to sell flavored tobacco products.
This comes after the Duluth City Council approved a rule over a year ago, banning the sale of the products from convenient stores, allowing them to only be purchased in 18-years or older smoke shops.
Owner, Derek Medved says the business has lost a lot of income due to the ban.
“You know I believe that Zach Filipovich, his comments are very well stated. But, I believe that you have the right when you’re eighteen years old to determine what is good or bad for you. And you know gas stations and you know my establishments and everybody across town we have never you know sold to minors and we never plan to. And we will never ever promote it to minors, but you know I believe that it’s a right,” says Medved.
Many councilors voted in favor of the ordinance hoping it would keep these products out of the hands of teens. Others voted against it, saying it unfairly shifted business.
Whether you are a retailer or a consumer, it’s important to know the facts about creditcardskimmers. As described by @NACSonline, skimming is the method by which [criminals] obtain customer card data from the magnetic strip to create a counterfeit card to use either online or in stores. With EMV compliance just 18 months away, “the window of opportunity for thieves to get this data is closing.”
Nacsonline article featuring contributors Paige Anderson and Linda Toth, it points out that retailers have many options to protect their business from skimming; however, the one action every retailer can take is changing out the universal locks on their fuel dispensers.
“Making sure those locks are unique is one basic security requirement…it doesn’t cost much and can be done easily,” said Anderson.
If you are reading this and don’t own a convenience store you may think this doesn’t apply to you. True, skimming may not effect your business but if your use a credit card to purchase fuel, it could have a very negative effect on your bank account. As consumers we all need to be aware of these criminals and know what to look for. Seriously, we are all very busy and who has extra hours of time to fight credit card breaches? NOBODY! Below we have included a link from @Nacs TV that is very informative and shows you exactly what to look for before handing your card over to a gas pump!
Let backOffice Software™ help with adding these new products to your store!
Oklahoma Retailers to Stock Wine and Stronger Beer
State grocery and convenience stores will benefit from modernized alcohol laws starting next week.
September 26, 2018
TULSA, Okla. – On October 1, Oklahoma finally will allow wine and full-strength beer to be sold from convenience stores and supermarkets, the Tulsa World reports. Nearly 60 years after Oklahoma was the final state to overturn Prohibition, high-point beer will be available at retailers outside liquor stores.
The new law specifies that those stores will be able to stock wine of up to 15% alcohol by volume and beer of up to 8.99%. Stores will be able to sell the alcohol seven days a week between 6:00 am and 2:00 am.
This change has been a long time coming to Oklahoma. Two years ago, more than 65% of voters approved the question that allowed for stronger beer sales at convenience stores, while also allowing liquor stores to sell cold beer and a small number of nonalcoholic items, such as corkscrews, mixers and ice. Liquor stores also received permission for expanded hours.
“We were losing out because we were in a very restrictive environment, and by modernizing our alcohol laws, you’re seeing a lot of economic growth,” said state Sen. Stephanie Bice, who sponsored the bills with Rep. Glen Mulready (R).
Currently, only two other states—Minnesota and Utah—have laws restricting the sale of beer and wine from convenience stores and supermarkets. Kansas recently approved a similar law to Oklahoma’s, which will go into effect next April, and Colorado will remove the low-beer restriction come January 2019.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Litter is one of the top reasons consumers oppose having a convenience store or gas station in their communities. According to Keep America Beautiful (KAB), every litter stand reduces the littering rate for cigarette butts by 9%. Many smokers say they would properly dispose of their butts if suitable receptacles were available.
As part of a new joint initiative of KAB and Philip Morris USA, for a limited time U.S. convenience stores can request free litter stands to collect cigarette butts. Litter stands will be delivered to retailers with all materials, hardware and guidance needed for installation. Retailers are asked to maintain litter stands by servicing them regularly.
U.S. convenience stores can request one or more free litter stands until September 15. Interested retailers should email email@example.com with the following information:
Name and contact information (phone and email)
Store name and street address of proposed location
Details about where the receptacle(s) will be placed
NACS partnered with Keep America Beautiful in 2017 to produce a free retailer resource
Millennials and Gen Xers have pushed out baby boomers as the
largest consumer group in the wine market.
August 10, 2018
NEW YORK – Wine sales have been growing, with total U.S. wine sales topping $32 billion in 2017, and a healthy sales projection of more than 6% annually through 2022 to hit $43 billion, Marketing Daily reports. Millennials and Gen Xers are driving this upward trend as their share of wine consumption soared by 8%, making them the largest consumer group in the wine market, according to L.E.K. Consulting.
Off-premises consumption of wine has risen, accounting for more than 80% of overall wine drinking—a much higher rate than for distilled spirits and beer, L.E.K. Consulting reports. Sales of fancy wine—the fine and premium wines—grew around 8% annually since 2012 and should reach $25 billion by 2022.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales also are increasing, with shipments to customers from wineries closing in on $3.1 billion last year. The DTC market is anticipated to experience around 11% growth annually to hit $5.2 billion by 2022. Smaller wineries are pushing the DTC trend, which also has created packaging innovations such as canned, single-serve and boxed wine.
L.E.K.’s research shows that wine sales continued to grow even during the 2007–2008 recession, but new immigration policies could affect wine production by contributing to the industry’s labor shortage. Also, the industry continues to consolidate, with about a dozen suppliers in control of approximately 80% of the U.S. wine market by volume last year.
Young consumers are shaping the way Americans eat.
July 23, 2018
CHICAGO – Millennials have had their time in the spotlight; now, companies are looking to the next generation to see how they will impact the future of the food and drink industry. Dubbing cohorts of Generation Z who are aged 11 to 22 as the iGeneration, Mintel says this demographic has the potential to reset expectations for health and wellness, increase the reach of international cuisine and heighten creativity in the kitchen.
Mintel suggests that America’s youngest consumers are increasingly growing health-conscious, with one quarter (25%) of teens aged 15-17 saying they worry about staying healthy, with another 49% agreeing that they think drinking soda is unhealthy.
“Generation Z has come of age at a time when health and wellness is a major consideration. Many younger members of Generation Z follow their parents’ healthy ways and it seems health-consciousness only gets stronger as they approach adulthood.
However, health is multi-faceted for this group, suggesting that better-for-you formulations, such as craveable fruits and vegetables, can be expanded to give this generation options that fit with their ever-changing diet priorities,” said Dana Macke, associate director, lifestyles and leisure reports, at Mintel.
Today’s younger generations are the most diverse in U.S. history and in addition to their varied racial and ethnic backgrounds, parents are raising their children to have broader palates.
Gen Z seems to be cultivating an appreciation for international cuisine from a young age as 36% of U.S. parents of children under age 18 agree that their kids enjoy eating international foods.
Interest in international cuisine goes well beyond the more commonplace varieties such as Italian, Mexican and Chinese, as Gen Z consumers are driving consumption of more emerging international food and drink. Adult Gen Z consumers are also much more likely than older generations to find culinary inspiration from social media: 62% of young adults aged 18-22 say they cook international cuisines at home from social media, compared to 46% of Millennials (aged 23-40) and 23% of Generation X consumers (aged 41-52) who cook at home.
“Generation Z is America’s most diverse generation yet. With exposure to international foods starting at an early age, whether in restaurants or at home, Generation Z is more likely to be open to the latest international food trend or innovative fusion creation. These adventurous habits are creating opportunities across categories, presenting potential for products such as tikka masala meal kits or Chinese Peking duck-flavored potato chips,” said Jenny Zegler, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink.
Read more about Gen Z attitudes toward food in the July NACS Magazine feature, “Better for You.”