AWMA Outlook Forum to Tackle Challenges of Today and Tomorrow

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AWMA Outlook Forum to Tackle Challenges of Today and Tomorrow


FAIRFAX, Va. -– Leaders in distribution, retailing and manufacturing will discuss ways that data collaboration among trading partners could improve convenience store supply chain efficiency during the closing session of the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) C-Metrics Convenience Industry Outlook Forum, taking place June 24-25 at the Loews New Orleans Hotel.

David Bishop, managing partner of Balvor LLC, will moderate the session, which follows a keynote address by Sandy Skrovan, U.S. research director at PlanetRetail, and category close-up sessions that will detail sales trends in major c-store categories based on exclusive current C-Metrics data.

Panelists for the trading partners discussion include:

  • Sonja Hubbard, CEO, E-Z Mart Inc.
  • Joe Hamza, vice president of sales and marketing, Tedeschi Food Shops Inc.
  • Keith Canning, managing partner, Pine State Trading Co.
  • George Abdoo, vice president of business development, S. Abraham & Sons
  • Wilson H. Friend Jr., director, trade marketing, Altria Group Distribution Co.
  • Bill Henry, sales director, Kellogg's Convenience Team

A developing retail shift that requires business strategy changes by all supply chain partners will be the focus of Skrovan's keynote address. She will explain how changes in the business environment, shopper demographics, technological advancements and business processes will influence go-to-market retail strategies.

"Key trends, such as polarization, fragmentation, localization, personalization and digitalization are set to impact the retail landscape in the coming years," Skrovan said. "The end result will be a retail environment that looks vastly different five years from now than it does today."

Attendees will discover what driving forces and trends are reshaping the retail landscape and learn who will win, who will lose, and discover the source of future growth as PlanetRetail highlights what leading retailers are doing to embrace change and prepare for the future, according to the AWMA.

"Retailers, distributors and their manufacturer partners must not only react, but be proactive to realign strategies that will best position them to take advantage of the new retail realities," Skrovan added.

The C-Metrics category close-up sessions following Skrovan's presentation will provide participants with an analysis of sales data from the first five months of this year and projections for the entire year in four categories: cigarettes and electronic cigarettes; other tobacco products; candy; and salty and alternative snacks. C-Metrics, developed by InRhythm Inc., provides a strategic look at how in-store warehouse delivered products are performing today.

The conference is open to all AWMA distributor members who may invite two of their retail customers to attend with complimentary registration, and all industry manufacturers that provide products through convenience distributors.

Following the Outlook Forum is the second annual AWMA DEF Harmonizing Assortment conference, which seeks to help distributors use data to improve category management and profits for themselves and their customers. The event will take place June 25-27, also at the Loews New Orleans Hotel.

“This state-of-the-art executive education program will focus on category management, sales and data management, and will provide a fresh perspective on the importance of integrating category management and sales functions," stated Scott Ramminger, AWMA president and CEO. Ramminger added that consumer insight teams, category management and data experts will demonstrate how to analyze inventories, explore the root causes of excessive SKUs and rationalize product placement to capitalize on consumer behavior.

"Harmonizing Assortment will enable management and sales leaders to connect with peers from across the country and learn how to tap into the power of category management to make informed category decisions," said Ramminger. "Attendees will be able to develop strategies to better serve retail customers and help them maximize product turns and identify slow-moving SKUs and better selling items."

The program is sponsored by AWMA's Distributors Education Foundation (DEF) and was created specifically for distributors involved in making category management, buying and sales decisions. It will feature industry experts serving as faculty, including Kit Dietz of Dietz Consulting LLC and Doug MacKay, president of The Glen Douglas Group, both of whom have long experience in the industry and have worked with AWMA on numerous distributor education programs, according to Ramminger.

Program topics will include:

  • Communicating and implementing category management plans
  • How the consumer shops the c-store
  • Rationalizing assortment and building from the core out
  • Making informed decisions through the use of data
  • Merchandising new items and driving center store sales
  • Building consultative selling skills

Distributors are invited to attend both the Outlook Forum and the DEF Harmonizing Assortment conference to maximize their investment. A joint networking reception will be held on June 25 at 5 p.m. More information and online registration are available at

The AWMA is the only international trade organization working on behalf of convenience distributors in the United States. Associate members include manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, brokers, retailers and others allied to the convenience retailing industry.