CSNews Exclusive: 2009 Results a Real Mixed Bag

NEW YORK -- The convenience store industry experienced dollar or volume sales declines in most major product categories last year, according to the Convenience Store News FIRST LOOK report. The lone bright spot was the other tobacco products (OTP) category, while the candy and snacks categories saw dollar sales gains -- the latter two categories proving once again to be relatively recession-resistant.

The CSNews FIRST LOOK report provides convenience store retailers with a first glimpse of industry dollar and volume sales changes in five major product categories, based on data provided exclusively to CSNews by The Nielsen Co. (CSNews is a division of Nielsen.) The OTP category experienced a dollar sales increase of 9.1 percent as unit volume grew 5.5 percent last year. Candy sales were up 4.1 percent on a unit volume decline of 3.6 percent, and snacks increased dollar sales 2.7 percent on a 4.2-percent volume drop.

Beer sales were relatively flat, with dollar sales up a scant 0.3 percent and a unit volume decline of 2.3 percent. The biggest loser last year was packaged beverages, where dollar sales declined 2.2 percent and unit volume fell 4.2 percent.

The recession's impact was felt most severely by convenience stores in the southern U.S. -- as market shares for southern stores declined in all five of the key categories covered in the FIRST LOOK report.

Watch for the March 1 issue of CSNews for more information on how the major categories and subcategories performed last year.

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