Single Store Owner

JAN-FEB 2016

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26 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 COVER STORY 4.6-percent increase and 2015 an estimated 6.9-per- cent jump. This year, another 5.7-percent increase is anticipated per store. Single-store owners, as well as c-store chain operators, indicate they are keeping a close eye on pending regulatory changes, citing government regu- lation as the year's key influencer. COLD VAULT Sales across the beverage coolers should heat up this year, according to single-store owners. Single-store owners are more bullish on other tobacco products (OTP). More than half expect their OTP sales to increase in the coming year, vs. 27.3 percent predicting a decrease. Their sentiment is not surprising considering the category's upward movement over the past few years. OTP dollar sales for the industry were up 6.5 percent in 2014, followed by an estimated 5.4-per- cent rise in 2015. This year, dollar sales are projected to tick up another 4.8 percent. As for OTP unit volume per store, 2014 saw a Industry Forecast: Beer/Malt Beverages (% change) 2016 2015 2014 Source: Convenience Store News Industry Forecast Study, 2016 2014 figures are actual; 2015 are estimated based on nine months; 2016 are forecast. 3.1% 3.5% 2.1% 3.7% 4.2% 3.1% 5.0% 5.1% 4.1% Unit Volume per Store Dollar Sales per Store Industry Dollar Sales Retailer Forecast: Beer/Malt Beverages Sales will increase Sales will decrease Net change: 3.2% Sales will stay the same 11.2% 44.4% 44.4% Source: Single Store Owner Retailer Forecast Study, 2016 The C-store Suppliers' Outlook on 2016 O f course, retailers are only one half of the convenience retail equation; wholesalers and suppliers represent the other half. And so, to deliver more forward-looking insights to help c-store players mobilize for the new year, Con- venience Store News for the Single Store Owner and flagship publication Con- venience Store News for the first time conducted a survey among convenience industry suppliers and wholesalers to get their forecast for 2016. Here are some of the most interesting findings: • The majority of c-store suppliers and wholesalers that participated have a favorable outlook when it comes to the 2016 economic picture. Notably, 41.7 percent hold a "very positive" view of the overall conditions of the U.S. economy, 28.6 percent hold a "positive" view and 10.4 percent hold a "slightly posi- tive" view. On the other hand, only a combined 12.8 percent view the U.S. economy of 2016 negatively. • When asked about their particular product categories, the supply side of the convenience retailing chain does hedge its bets a little. While still over- whelmingly positive, those indicating they are "very positive" about their particular product category dipped to 35.5 percent, followed by 28.7 percent who are "positive" and 16.4 percent who are "slightly positive." No respondents from either the supplier or wholesaler communities said they're "very negative" on their category, and only 6.5 percent said they're "slightly negative." • Stacking up the convenience chan- nel against the other retail channels they serve, c-store suppliers and wholesalers gave convenience high marks for performance. A whopping 86.7 percent of respondents placed convenience in the positive column when asked to rate conditions in the channels where they work. This rating placed convenience squarely in front of all competing channels, with drug coming in second at a 65.4-percent positive rating. • Supplier Forecast Study partici- pants were asked to weigh in on what the key factors for their busi- ness' success in 2016 will be. New product development, an uptick in consumer spending, and growth in c-store count were the top three factors cited. • The study also asked c-store sup- pliers and wholesalers to list the top concerns they have for their business in 2016. While some men- tioned fad brands and private-label brands, the issues weighing most widely on their minds for this year are: government regulation, political events, consumer confidence, gas prices and rising costs.

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