Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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WWW.CSNEWS.COM | JANUARY 2017 | Convenience Store News 37 ing Nielsen for category sales history; TDLinx for store counts; and government sources for motor fuel volume and pricing data. The data is then run through a sophisticated projection model and presented here in summary form. CSNews' consulting econo- mist Maureen Maguire, founder and CEO of New York-based ThinkResearch, oversees the Forecast Study process. Along with the individual forecasts for the product categories of most importance to c-store retailers — alternative snacks is a brand-new addition to our report this year — the CSNews Forecast Study once again provides an overall U.S. economic and consumer outlook. "Barring any unforeseen circumstances such as terrorist activi- ties, geopolitical disruptions or weather-related effects, which would cause the consumer to pause or slow down spending, the consumer is healthy," Maguire said, when asked for her overall consensus on 2017. "Consumer confidence is high, which translates into healthy consumer spending — not what I would call robust, but healthy — and the unemployment rate is historically low." As in years past, we've also brought back our Retailer Forecast Study, asking c-store retailers to predict results for their average store sales this year in the major categories and to provide reason- ing for their answers. They were also asked to rate issues that are expected to have a major impact on the business, and share initia- tives they are planning to increase sales and profitability. Also back again is our Supplier Forecast Study, which we introduced just last year. This survey is fielded among convenience industry suppliers and wholesalers to gauge their outlook and how it compares to that of the retailer side of the c-store business. Of course, the best-laid plans on the part of both industry retailers and suppliers are at the mercy of external factors — one of the biggest being legislation and regulation at the federal, state and local levels. With this in mind, our Forecast 2017 report pro- vides a look at the top legislative and regu- latory issues that could significantly impact the industry over the next 12 months. Turn the page to discover much more about what the year ahead has in store for your business.

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