U.S. Convenience Stores Continue Growth

January 25, 2018

The industry’s core offer of convenience strongly resonates with consumers.

January 25, 2018

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The U.S. convenience store count increased to a record 154,958 stores as of December 31, 2017, a 0.3% increase (423 stores) from the year prior, according to the 2018 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

“Our continued store growth suggests that the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s core offer of convenience continues to resonate with customers,” said Chris Rapanick, director of business development at NACS.

“Convenience stores are the destination of choice for the 160 million customers who frequent their community convenience store each day to refresh and refuel, whether it’s to grab a quick snack and a beverage, or a fresh-prepared meal.”

The convenience store count is significantly higher than other channels of trade, accounting for more than one third (34.4%) of the brick-and-mortar retail universe tracked by Nielsen in the United States. Except for the dollar store channel, all other major channels have fewer units at year-end 2017 than 2016:

​Channel ​2016 ​2017 ​Unit Change ​% Change
Convenience Store​ ​154,535 ​154,958 ​423 ​0.3%
​Drug ​43,636 ​43,169 ​(467) ​-1.07%
​Supermarket ​51,191 ​51,134 ​(57) ​-0.11%
​Dollar ​28,832 ​30,332 ​1,500 ​5.20%

“Convenience stores saw solid growth in 2017 due to an increased focus on innovation, improved customer experience, assortment variation and healthy investments in food services,” said Jeanne Danubio, EVP retail for lead markets at Nielsen. “All of these factors have enabled convenience stores to meet the needs of consumers, stretching far beyond the pump. This shift must continue to further expand c-store’s relevance in today’s changing retail landscape. As more retailers across channels try to cater to convenience seeking consumers, c-stores will need to continue to innovate and evolve and grow to stay ahead of the curve.”

Single-store operators within the convenience retail space also increased by 139 units (0.14%), up from 97,504 stores at year-end 2016 to 97,643 stores at year-end 2017.

Overall, 79.1% of convenience stores (122,552) sell motor fuels, a decrease of 1.0% (or 1,255 stores) from 2016, with the single-store motor fuel segment dropping by 1,025 stores. The decline in the number of convenience stores selling fuel is reflective of retailers evolving their business models to focus more on the in-store, foodservice offer, as well as retailers embracing new store formats and establishing their brands in more urban, walk-up locations.

Among the states, Texas continues to lead in store count at 15,813 stores, or more than one in 10 stores in the country. California is second at 11,946 stores, followed by Florida (9,891), New York (8,725), Georgia (6,687), North Carolina (6,235), Ohio (5,686), Michigan (4,962), Pennsylvania (4, 855) and Illinois (4,759). The bottom three states in terms of store count are Alaska (217 stores), Wyoming (355) and Delaware (344).

The U.S. convenience store count has increased by 55% over the last three decades: At year-end 1987, the convenience store count was 100,200 stores, at year-end 1997 the store count was 108,800 stores and at year-end 2007 the store count was 146,294 stores.

NACS Article – Click here


Thanks @NACSonline for another great article.

And to the 423 new stores – call Insight Retail Software for your backOffice and scan data needs! We are the premiere provider for Scan Data Services!

insightRS_blkblu

Advertisements

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.

 insightRS_blkblu
 Call: 518 633 4111 x 108 for more details
Insight Retail Software Website – we have lots of info here!

2018 Is Knocking on the Door

December 26, 2017

As 2017 comes to a close we take a minute to say thank you to our many loyal customers for your business.  We send you best wishes for a happy new year filled with health, happiness, and spectacular success.

 

 

May 2018 be the year that all dreams come true.

` The Team at Insight Retail Software

 

insightRS_blkblu


Congrats to Touch Dynamic – An Awesome InsightRS Vendor

September 6, 2017

We are so happy to see this new facility!  Good Job Guys!  Touch Dynamic All-in-one Terminals are working great for our Tobacco Store installs with our InsightRS Scan Data Service.

Touch Dynamic Headquarters

Irvington, NJ- August 23, 2017 – Touch Dynamic, a leading manufacturer in all-in-one POS systems, small form factor PCs, rugged tablets and POS peripherals, has moved to a new facility in South Plainfield, New Jersey.

Touch Dynamic’s rapid growth has caused the hardware manufacturer to expand beyond the capacity of its location in Irvington, New Jersey. The new space located at 121 Corporate Boulevard in South Plainfield boasts double the amount of warehouse and office space.

The new 36,000 square foot facility also has extra space for visiting sales team members and other personnel when they are working at the facility. Multiple conference rooms are available to accommodate simultaneous team meetings. The new parking lot is triple the size of the lot in Irvington, perfect for hosting guests and Touch Dynamic team growth. Touch Dynamic has also updated its phone system to a new, state-of-the-art communication system and the production floor has been customized with an ESD (Electric Static Discharge) compliant floor.

“This has been an excellent move for the company,” said Craig Paritz, President of Touch Dynamic. “With more production space for product integration, more office space for staff, and in a great location, we will be able to continue to grow and serve the channel as effectively as possible.”

To learn more about Touch Dynamic and its products, visit http://www.touchdynamic.com.

About Touch Dynamic

Founded in August of 2001, Touch Dynamic is an ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer of all-in-one touch terminals, small form factor PCs, touch screen monitors and mobile POS devices for a variety of industries. We understand the demands on our channel partners and provide unique products and additional value-added services to help them meet the specific needs of their customers. For more information, visit www.touchdynamic.com

Touch Dynamic Website – Click Here

Insight Retail Software Website

 

insightRS_blkblu


And just like that, summer is over.

September 1, 2017

Scan Data for Altria September

Back to school, football season and the wonderful beauty of fall.

So now that vacations and summer travel is over it’s time to sign up for our Scan Data Service.  Give us a call today! Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity for tobacco incentive money.

Call Chris at:  518-633-4111 x 108

insightRS_blkblu


Hurricane Harvey: HOW DISASTERS AFFECT FUEL PRICES

August 31, 2017

Five most devastating storms in recent US History.

5.  Ivan – 2004

4.  Ike – 2008

3.  Andrew – 1992

2.  Sandy – 2012

1.  Katrina – 2005

As Harvey continues its path of destruction it’s certain to make the list above.  We continue to think of our many customers, friends and vendors that are affected by this horrible storm as it now heads to Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Attention IRSI customers:  Insight Retail Software will securely store a copy of your backOffice™ database please let us know.

insightRS_blkblu


This article from NACS online

Higher prices at the pump often lead the public to assume a retailer is price gouging.

 

August 31, 2017

 

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The retail fuel marketplace is the most competitive commodity market in the nation. There are an estimated 150,000 retail fueling facilities in the United States. Of these operations, less than 1% are owned and operated by the major oil companies, and about another 4% are owned by a refining company. The majority—about 95% of stores—are owned by independent companies, whether one-store operators or regional chains. Each of these companies has different strategies and strengths in operations, which can dictate the type of fuel that they buy and how they sell it.

Most of the nation’s fuel retailers purchase their gasoline and diesel supplies from a refiner. As such, these businesses have no influence over the wholesale price established by the refiner and, during a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, these retailers can incur extremely volatile wholesale prices and restricted wholesale availability. Wholesale prices are largely influenced by activity in the commodities trading market, in which traders bid prices up or down based upon actual and anticipated changes in supply availability. During disruptive events, these contracts can vary widely in a very short period of time.

Refiners seek to ensure they have sufficient product to satisfy their contractual obligations when supplies are disrupted. Refiners often will place their branded retailers on allocation, restricting their volume to a certain percentage based upon the previous year’s activity and ensuring the refiner’s product is available throughout their service area. While these branded retailers are likely to have at least some supply guaranteed, they have one supplier for product. The unbranded retailer, meanwhile, who relies on the uncontracted gallon of gasoline, often pays an elevated wholesale price or is completely denied access to supplies. This limitation on supplies for the retail segment as demand remains constant results in increased wholesale prices.

It’s common for retailers to operate daily in a volatile wholesale gasoline marketplace, where costs often change several times a day. Under normal market conditions, retailers may seek to adjust their prices upward in response to increasing wholesale prices to pay for their next delivery. This practice is known as factoring in replacement costs and is a critical element in the pricing decision for many retailers, especially during periods of extreme volatility.

But including replacement costs in retail prices may not always be feasible. But because price-sensitive consumers will switch locations to save a few cents per gallon, retailers will often remain competitive in their fuel pricing strategy, which affects their ability to recover the full cost of wholesale price increases, resulting in reduced margins and, in some cases, net losses at the pump for transactions.

Higher prices at the pump often lead the public to assume a retailer is price gouging. Price gouging is defined by some government entities as the increase in prices or value for goods and services that are higher than the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and services at or immediately before the time of a state of emergency. In the wake of natural disasters that affect the U.S. transportation infrastructure, governors may declare a state of emergency and institute a price gouging prohibition.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some members of Congress sought to enact legislation on price gouging that would have punished honest retailers for violating an ambiguous definition of price gouging. The legislation that passed both the House and Senate defined “unconscionably excessive prices” as:

  • Significantly higher than the average price charged by that supplier during the 30-days prior to the emergency;
  • Significantly higher than the competition; and
  • Not attributable to increased costs, including replacement costs.

NACS argued at the time and continues to advise policy makers that the concept of price gouging is very complicated and must be carefully considered. Laws that do not adequately protect the normal operating practices of fuel retailers can have a very damaging effect on the market. Retailers must be given the opportunity to respond to changing market conditions and to recover their costs. For example, laws that prohibit a retailer from increasing fuel prices following the declaration of an emergency yet provide no allowance to adjust prices in response to escalating wholesale prices serve only to penalize retailers who stay open for business to serve their communities and accelerate the exhaustion of already limited supplies.

While Congress did not ultimately enact price-gouging legislation, several states that experience hurricanes and flooding have price-gouging statutes:

Texas
The Office of the Attorney General has authority to prosecute any business that engages in price gouging after a disaster has been declared by the governor. §17.46(b) of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act provides that it is a false, misleading or deceptive act or practice to take advantage of a disaster declared by the Governor under Chapter 418, Government Code, by:

  • Selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price; or
  • Demanding an exorbitant or excessive price in connection with the sale or lease of fuel, food, medicine or another necessity.

Louisiana
Once a state of emergency is declared, the price gouging ban is effective during the period specified in the declaration and for an additional period not to exceed 30 days after the declared state of emergency ends, unless expressly extended by the governor (La. R.S. 29:732(B)). Louisiana’s price gouging statute is not to freeze prices. Wholesalers and retailers may increase prices as long as the increase in price charged by the seller is attributable to regional or national market trends and fluctuations, or to reasonable expenses and charges for a business’ risk incurred in obtaining or selling the goods or services during the state of emergency (La. R.S. 29:732(A)).

The state’s price gouging ban covers goods and services necessary for use as a direct result of the state of emergency, such as gasoline or diesel fuel of any grade, hotels, motels and generators.

Florida
According to the Office of the Attorney General, Florida Statute 501.160 states that during a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell, lease, offer to sell, or offer for lease essential commodities for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price for that commodity during the 30 days before the declaration of the state of emergency, unless the seller can justify the price by showing increases in its prices or market trends. Examples of necessary commodities are food, ice, gas and lumber.

The law compares the reported price of the commodity or service during the state of emergency to the average price charged over the 30-day period prior to the declared state of emergency. If there is a “gross disparity” between the prior price and the current charge, it is considered price gouging.


Here comes the sun. The Great American Total Solar Eclipse

August 18, 2017

694940094001_5543989438001_5543971021001-vsLots of talk about the upcoming “Great American Total Solar Eclipse” on Monday August 21, 2017.  People from Oregon to South Carolina are lining up and making plans to place themselves in the “path of totality” for the big event and are hopefully in for an unforgettable experience.

Space.com gives us this reminder:  During totality, when the sun’s disk is completely covered by the moon, it is safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye. But sky watchers should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. See our complete guide to find out how to view the eclipse safely.  – Please follow the rules and stay safe.  Don’t let a few minutes of sun gazing ruin your life.

As people flock to the “path of totality” gasoline stations are seeing heavy volume as eclipse watchers are making their travel plans and lining up for their perfect spot in the path.   NACS reports that some gasoline retailers had ordered 20% more fuel than for their usual busy holiday weekends while others that didn’t plan ahead are now seeing shortages.

For youngsters this may seem like a first time occurrence which would be far from true. The English word eclipse comes from the Greek ἔκλειψις, ekleípō: disappearance, abandonment. A solar eclipse is the moment in which the sun disappears, abandoning the world. It’s like being forsaken by a god.

The ancient Greeks thought of a solar eclipse as an act of abandonment, a terrible crisis and an existential threat. It meant that the king would fall, that terrible misfortunes would rain down on the world, or that demons had swallowed the sun.

Yet not everyone thought of the eclipse as a horrible threat. For some cultures, the eclipse was an act of creation: The sun and moon were coupling, and would create more stars. For others, it was a random and chaotic act by a trickster or a mischievous boy, causing trouble just for the sake of it.

So wherever you are, seeing full or partial, sporting $.50 paper glasses or a cardboard box, be safe, have fun and listen to a little Eclipse by Pink Floyd while watching the slide show below!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Credit to:

Getty Images, NACS Online

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/8/18/16078886/total-solar-eclipse-folklore

 


%d bloggers like this: