Industry Roundup: The Most-Read Stories of December 2019


NATIONAL REPORT — Expanded footprints, new locations and product strategy were important topics to Convenience Store News readers last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of December, based on reader views:

1) FDA: Federal Tobacco 21 Law Is Now in Effect
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has six months to finalize the federal Tobacco 21 law, the agency announced it is now illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco product to consumers under 21 years old. The shift in the legal age was expected to go into effect in roughly nine months; however, the agency posted a message on its website announcing the new legal age is now in effect.

2) Dollar General to Accelerate Store Count Growth in 2020
Dollar General Corp. plans to open 1,000 stores in 2020, up from 975 in 2019. It also will undertake 1,500 mature store remodels and 80 store relocations. The retailer announced its expansion plans during its third-quarter earnings call, during which it also reported its best quarterly same-store sales rise in nearly five years along with increases on both its top and bottom lines.

3) GPM to Expand Into 10 New States by Acquiring Empire Petroleum Partners
GPM Investments LLC is growing its presence to 33 states. The expansion comes as the Richmond-based company agrees to acquire substantially all of the assets of Dallas-based Empire Petroleum Partners LLC, creating a premier national fuel distributor and retailer. The transaction will expand GPM's operations into 10 new states and add more than 225 controlled locations, including 77 retail-operated sites.

4) Top Predictions for the CPG Industry in 2020
Higher demand for pet products, integration of the in-store and online shopping experience and non-traditional channel growth are among the top predictions for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry in the year ahead. A new report from Acosta compiles 20 top CPG predictions for 2020, grouped into four categories: Macro Consumer Predictions, Category/Brand Predictions, Shopping Experience Predictions and Store Operations Predictions.

5) Seven Predictions About the Future of Convenience Retailing
With consumers focused on expediency, Nielsen predicts that convenience stores will grow faster than other offline channels over the next five years. However, lines will continue to blur between the c-stores and other retail channels — like quick-service restaurants, and small format grocery, mass and drug.

6) How to Make CBD Products an In-Store Destination
CBD is arguably the next emerging category for retailers across all channels. With hemp-derived CBD gaining in popularity — in line with overarching health, wellness and anti-pharma trends — and product availability and variety increasing, the market is on track to grow to $23.7 billion through 2023.

7) Couche-Tard Shifts Into Construction Mode
Over the past several years, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has been busy building up its global convenience store network through acquisitions. This fiscal year, however, organic growth is also a focus for the company.

8) A Chat With Retailer Executive of the Year Brian Hannasch
Since being named president and CEO of ACT in September 2014, Hannasch has seen the organization become the largest company in Canada in terms of revenue; the largest independent U.S. convenience store operator in terms of number of company-operated stores and the second largest in total stores; and one of the largest convenience store groups in the world.

9) 7-Eleven Debuts New Proprietary Brand for 200-Plus Nonfood Items
7-Eleven Inc. is launching a line of 200-plus nonfood items sold under the new 24/7 LIFE by 7-Eleven proprietary brand name. The line spans electronic accessories such as batteries, over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, paper goods, office supplies, wine accessories, travel-size toiletries and more.

10) Nielsen Crowns 2019's Top 25 Innovative New Products
Nielsen Global Connect honored a variety of consumer packaged goods (CPGs) as its Top 25 Breakthrough Innovation winners for 2019. This year's list, which recognizes innovation and global success within the CPG space, demonstrates the steady growth and diversification that mirrors the shifting tides of today's consumer landscape.