Convenience Store Retailers Cite Top Trends for 2018

January 10, 2018

NACS gives us their predictions for 2018. The great news is that backOffice Software™ from Insight Retail Software can handle everything that comes your way in 2018.  INCLUDING YOUR SCAN DATA SERVICE!


From Nacs:  ​ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Growth in healthy food and beverages sales led to positive overall sales at convenience stores in 2017, and retailers expect the momentum to continue in 2018, according to a survey of retailers released today by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

More than two in three convenience retailers (69%) said that foodservice sales increased last year, and 61% said that sales of better-for-you items (i.e., fruits/vegetables, yogurt, nuts, health bars) experienced sales gains. By comparison, only 7% said that foodservice sales were down and only 3% said that sales of better-for-you items decreased.

“Customers are demanding higher quality foods and snacks” at Chestnut Petroleum stores (New Paltz, NY), according to Mickey Jamal. Sales of healthy food and drinks were strong in 2017 at Arroyo Grande Valero (Atascadero, CA). Protein bars and fruit and protein smoothies propelled sales at A-Square Enterprises Inc. (Conyers, GA), and water—whether plain, flavored or coconut water—grew sales at Select Fuel & Convenience (Red Bud, IL).

Convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the fuel purchased in the United States and retailers also said sales were strong at the pump: Most retailers (52%) said that fuel sales increased in 2017, compared to 20% who reported a decline in gallons sold.

Trends for 2018
Retailers also predicted emerging trends for 2018. Kombucha drinks will continue to grow, as will new programs for home delivery, according to Lisa Dell’Alba at Square One Markets (Bethlehem, PA). New payment methods also will be a top trend, said Kent Frieling at Stop ’n Save (Grand Junction, CO). And healthier meal replacements won’t just be a big trend in 2018—they will also be on his menu, complimenting a robust growler fill program, said Kent Couch at Stop & Go Mini Mart (Bend, OR).

Also, retailers said that the lunch daypart has the most potential to grow sales at their stores, with 67% identifying lunchtime traffic as their biggest opportunity. But other dayparts also hold promise, including the opportunity to grow sales of mid-day snacks, noted Stephen Lair with Petromark Inc. (Harrison, AR).

“People love food inside a convenience store. It’s a one-stop shop for them,”

said Parvez Himani at Priya Impex Inc. (Alpharetta, GA).

Strong Optimism for 2018
Beyond products, retailers say that strong consumer optimism over economic prospects, identified in the monthly NACS Consumer Surveys, also helped grow sales in 2017.

“There seems to be a direct correlation between our customers’ view of the economy and their use of disposable income in our marketplace,” said Dennis McCartney of Landhope Farms (Kennett Square, PA).

Strong consumer optimism also translated into strong retailer optimism. More than three in four (77%) retailers are optimistic about their business prospects for the first three months of 2018, with the same percentage of retailers optimistic about the overall U.S. economy for the first quarter.

Some Concerns Loom in 2018
Competition for the convenience store customer is the top concern of retailers heading into 2018, with nearly half (46%) saying that they expect to continue competing with other channels and other convenience and fuel retailers (45%).

Labor is another major concern, cited by 45% of retailers, such as finding and recruiting top talent in the market. To address the issue, retailers say that are recruiting employees from non-traditional labor pools including retirees, disabled workers and military veterans.

“For the right kind of person, it is a fun job. Interacting with customers is enjoyable as our business attracts a lot of repeat customers whom they see every day,”

said John Clark with Alpine Mart (Stowe, VT).

Regulation and legislation that could potentially harm their operations is also a concern, cited by 42% of retailers, especially those doing business in California.

The quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey tracks retailer sentiment related to their businesses, the industry and the economy. A total of 103 member companies participated in the December 2017 survey.

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InsightRS Welcomes Alford Tobacco! Scan Data Service – backOffice Software™ – Touch Dynamic Terminal.

July 27, 2017

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If you are passing through Cabot, Arkansas stop in and see our friends at Alford Tobacco located at 521 West Main Street.  The owner, Judy Alford gives a thumbs-up for her new Touch Dynamic terminal with backOffice™ Software.

InsightRS provides the perfect Tobacco Store solution for:

  • Powerful Back Office Software
  • Excellent Reporting
  • Inventory Control
  • Modern Hardware
  • Scan Data Reporting for Altria and RJ Reynolds

 

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Alford Tobacco and Judy for your business!

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

July 26, 2017

Back office for C-Store Cigarette Tax

As tobacco laws constantly change, getting the most value from your tobacco sales has NEVER been as important as now.  Some things we can control –  our store front, advertising, community outreach, etc.  Many things we cannot control like Tobacco purchase age.  As laws change, sales can also change.  STAY competitive with Scan Data Rebates offered by Altria and RJR.  Insight Retail Software’s team of professionals can get your store submitting data ASAP.

Call Chris @ 518 633 4111 x 108 for more information.

Don’t light a fire to your profits, make your profits grow!

I mentioned tobacco laws changing.  The latest change comes to us from Gov. Chris Christie. When New Jersey law takes effect on November 1, 2017, NJ will become the 3rd state to set legal tobacco age to 21.  Hawaii and California being the first two states to make this change.  Gov. Christie stated that “By raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, we are giving young people more time to develop a maturity and better understanding of how dangerous smoking can be and that it is better to not start smoking in the first place,”

But not everyone is happy about this change.  As Nacs Online reports:

Meanwhile, merchants are disappointed about the change, given that neighboring states will still sell tobacco products to those between the ages of 19 and 21,

WFMZ-TV reports. “It’s going to be a negative business-wise,” said Sal Cassar, owner of Towne Market in Phillipsburg, N.J. “There’s no two ways about that.”

 

Cassar estimated that customers between the ages of 19 and 21 buy around a third of his tobacco sales.

“You don’t only lose the cigarette sell, [you also lose] any other associated product that the customer was going to buy,” he told the news source.

Meanwhile, in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have increased the state’s tobacco buying age to 21, the Press-Herald reports. “I believe that at 18 they are mature enough to make a decision and I’m tired of living in a society where we social engineer our lives,” the governor said of his veto.


While some claim that states are losing huge tax money others claim that the health care savings is worth it.  There are arguments on both sides. Some say 18 is mature enough to fight for our country, it should be mature enough to buy tobacco products.  While others think this maturity is reached at the age of 21. Many believe that the age increase will not reduce younger smokers activity.
The biggest losers in this debate are the state line retail stores that will lose business to the customer that drives 5 minutes across the state line to make their purchase(s).  So hey New Jersey – give us a call. 1 store or 100, we’ll take care of you.
Bottom line – get scanning!  Get the MOST out of your sales.
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