Growth Slows for Convenience Distributors


NATIONAL REPORT — Sales for the 2015 Convenience Store News Top Wholesalers reached a new high of $66.9 billion, but the past-year increase of only 1.7 percent reflects recent challenges faced by the industry.

Compared to growth increases of 5.6 percent in 2014 and 6.7 percent in 2013, this relatively modest rise can be attributed to the continued decline of cigarettes — by far, the leading category among convenience wholesalers — as well as ramped-up retailer acquisition activity resulting in consolidation by retailers in the number of wholesalers used.

The top 10 wholesalers, meanwhile, posted $58.3 billion in sales, an increase of 1.9 percent. Companies in the top 10 remain the same as last year, though some rankings have changed.

Despite a slight decline in sales, McLane Co. Inc. continues to sit atop the list, with total sales of $31.7 billion, down 0.6 percent from last year.

Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. remains in second place with sales of $10.3 billion, a 5.1-percent jump. Core Mark also recorded the only major acquisition in the past year, as it completed a deal for Karry Brothers, a Canadian company, in May 2015.

Eby-Brown Co. (with a solid 6-percent increase) and H.T. Hackney Co. (no change) maintained their third- and fourth-place rankings, respectively.

With an 8.3-percent increase, Farner-Bocken Co. moved into fifth place on the list, with sales reaching $1.3 billion. This jump pushed Harold Levinson Associates Inc., AMCON Distributing Co. and S. Abraham & Sons Inc. down one place in ranking each.

Imperial/Harrison Super Regional and Consumer Product Distributors Inc. maintained last year’s rankings to round out the top 10.

When asked to choose the single biggest trend impacting their business today, a majority of top wholesalers (37.5 percent) cited the short supply of qualified truck drivers.

Pressure on tobacco margins was cited by 25 percent of the top wholesalers, while last year’s top answer, increased government regulation, dropped to third at 18.8 percent.

Rankings for the Convenience Store News Top Wholesalers are based on sales from the last full fiscal year for each company.

Data for the report was gathered via a survey conducted among the largest wholesalers primarily servicing c-stores that derive a majority of their annual sales from tobacco and candy products. Additional data was obtained through company reports and other public sources of financial data. In some cases, estimates have been made by Convenience Store News based on historical data and current industry trends.

For the full 2015 Convenience Store News Top Wholesalers Report, look in the September issue.

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