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Finding Opportunities Amid Financial Chaos

NEW YORK -- C-store retailers can expect a difficult year in 2009, as most economists are predicting the nation’s economy troubles will continue for most of the year.

High unemployment and tightened consumer spending promise to make 2009 a tough year for c-store retailers.

In a special CSNews Webcast next month, a leading Nielsen economic forecaster and the CEO of one of the nation’s most innovative convenience store chains will look at the impact of reduced consumer spending on key c-store product categories and spotlight opportunities for growth amid the chaos.

The Webcast, which will be held live at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 14, will feature James Russo, vice president of marketing for The Nielsen Co. Russo will discuss macro economic conditions in 2009 and the impact of those conditions on retailers and consumer product goods companies. "The economic storm that has engulfed the world is expected to continue for most of 2009," said Russo. "But the rate of decline in the economy will start to slow toward midyear—with some modest growth possible by the last quarter of the year."

Russo pointed out Nielsen research shows that consumers had already begun to adjust their behaviors in 2008 as the economy slowed. "We can expect these behaviors—seeking value, for example—to intensify in 2009. Retailers can learn from these behaviors and find opportunities to benefit their businesses."

The Webcast will also feature the presentation of topline results from CSNews’ annual, industry-exclusive Industry Forecast Study. The study uses CSNews’ exclusive financial model to predict the sales and unit growth of six major categories of c-store revenue: motor fuels, packaged beverages, tobacco, snacks, malt beverages and confections.

Special guest on the Webcast will be Sonja Hubbard, CEO of E-Z Mart, the Texarkana, Texas-based chain of more than 300 c-stores. Hubbard, who is also chairwoman of NACS—The Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, will discuss how c-stores will cope with this difficult environment.

Attendees of the live, Webcast presentation will be able to direct questions on the forecast findings to the speakers and get answers immediately. The Webcast will also be archived for later viewing.

This special Industry Forecast Webcast is sponsored by Ruiz Foods.
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