Single Store Owner

JAN-FEB 2016

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30 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 COVER STORY cent and dollar sales by 2.2 percent. Gum, however, will not see much improvement as it faces just a 0.5-percent growth in unit volume per store and flat dollar sales. SNACKS Consumers' eating habits have been evolving in recent years, and one vital change benefitting the convenience store industry is the rise of on- the-go snacking. The salty snacks category, which includes potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, ready-to-eat popcorn, nuts and seeds, is expected to generate stronger growth in 2016 after slowing slightly last year. Unit volume per store is forecasted to be up 3.2 percent. The category had dropped to 2.8-per- cent unit growth in 2015 from 4.7-percent unit growth in 2014. Dollar sales per store are forecasted to see more significant growth of 6 percent, up from an estimated 3.6 percent in 2015. The greater jump is due in large part to higher prices. Still, single-store owners are somewhat cautious about the future of the category, with 42.4 percent predicting their salty snack sales will increase in 2016 and nearly as many (40.9 percent) saying sales will stay the same. This certainly pales in compari- son to the nearly three-quarters of chain retail- ers (74.1 percent) who believe their sales in this category will increase. EDIBLE GROCERY More convenience store retailers are making room in their stores for edible grocery items as consum- ers increasingly look for healthier options and a one-stop shopping experience. Consumers can be fickle, however, and that makes staying on top of this category challenging. According to our findings, single-store owners say keeping up with ever-changing consumer demands will have the biggest impact on the edible grocery category in 2016. As a result, independent retailers are split over whether sales in the category will increase or stay the same. The silver lining is that no retailers polled think sales will drop. This is a better picture than chain operators paint, where about one-fifth expect their sales to decrease. If the projections of our forecast model hold true, edible grocery will follow an upward trajectory this year. The category is projected to see a 4.6-percent lift in dollar sales per store, slightly better than 2015's estimated 4-percent increase. SSO dollar sales per store increasing 9.2 percent. Meanwhile, mints should see slight gains vs. 2015, increasing unit volume per store by 0.5 per- Retailer Forecast: Candy Sales will increase Sales will decrease Net change: 2.1% Sales will stay the same 33.3% 8.4% 58.3% Source: Single Store Owner Retailer Forecast Study, 2016 Industry Forecast: Salty Snacks (% 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. 4.7% 2.8% 3.2% 8.0% 3.6% 6.0% 9.3% 4.4% 6.9% Retailer Forecast: Salty Snacks Sales will increase Sales will decrease Net change: 2.0% Sales will stay the same 42.4% 16.7% 40.9% Source: Single Store Owner Retailer Forecast Study, 2016 Unit Volume per Store Dollar Sales per Store Industry Dollar Sales

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