NATIONAL REPORT — Beverage giveaways, legal issues and chain expansion were on readers' minds last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of April, based on CSNews Online reader views:
1) Wawa Day 2016 to Feature Free Coffee & Digital Tributes
In honor of Wawa Inc.'s 52nd anniversary in retail, the convenience store chain celebrated this year's Wawa Day on April 14, during the week of its 1964 founding. It expected to give away more than 1.7 million free cups of any-size coffee at its 720-plus stores across its six-state operating area.
2) Deposition Ordered for Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam
Three years after federal officials raided Pilot Flying J's Knoxville, Tenn., corporate headquarters, CEO Jimmy Haslam is facing a deposition in a civil case over the allegations of fraud in the company's fuel rebate program. Alabama Circuit Court Judge Sarah Hicks Stewart issued the order on April 15, the third anniversary of the April 15, 2013 raid.
3) RaceTrac Offers Free Drinks With New Rewards App
RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. gave away free beverages to customers who downloaded its new RaceTrac Rewards mobile app in April. Customers received seven in-app coupons for free drinks, redeemable for two weeks. The Atlanta-based convenience retailer assured its RaceTrac Insiders that "this is not an April Fools' Day joke, it's the real deal."
4) FDA's Final Deeming Rule Expected This Month
According to a report by legislative news outlet The Hill, industry and advocacy groups expected the agency to release its finalized deeming rule, which would give it authority over tobacco products currently not under its regulatory control, including electronic cigarettes and cigars.
5) No Spinoff for Speedway
Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) will not spin off its Speedway LLC retail division, MPC President and CEO Gary R. Heminger stated during the corporation's 2016 fiscal first-quarter earnings call. "With a retail spinoff, we have to look at how shareholders are valuing Speedway. We've done a lot of work on other companies who have completed [retail] spinoffs. We've found it has only provided a small bump in shareholder value," he said. "The long-term value of having Speedway inside Marathon is large."
6) BONUS CONTENT: The Secret Sauce of Wawa's Sandwich Program
Wawa Inc. is one of the top convenience store chains when it comes to the sandwiches category — both fresh, made-to-order and premade varieties. One thing that sets Wawa apart from many other c-stores is that the retailer, headquartered in the greater Philadelphia area, does not offer sandwiches made by any third-party vendors in its 700-plus stores. "It's all Wawa-branded sandwiches," said Director of Product Development Lynn Hochberg.
7) FDA's Zeller: Let's Reframe Debate to Focus on Nicotine
As Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products, explained to attendees of the 2016 NATO Show in Las Vegas, one policy "near and dear" to him is addressing nicotine. "It's something I spend a lot of time thinking about," Zeller noted. "It's time to start looking at nicotine differently."
8) Kwik Trip Has Long-Term Plans for New Express Model
Kwik Trip Inc.'s conversion of all its Tobacco Outlet Plus (TOP) adult-only stores to new "express" versions of its 450-plus traditional Kwik Trip and Kwik Star convenience stores is not the only major initiative the retailer has on its drawing board for completion in the next five years. Also within that five-year span, the La Crosse-based convenience store operator expects to expand the new express venture — dubbed Kwik Trip Express in Wisconsin and Kwik Star Express in Iowa — beyond just the conversion of its 39 TOP stores.
9) Global Partners Puts 86 C-stores on the Sales Block
Global Partners LP retained NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC to sell 86 non-strategic convenience stores with gas in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Of the 86 sites, 28 are located in Connecticut, 22 in Massachusetts, 12 in New York, eight each in Maine and New Hampshire, five in Rhode Island and three in Maryland.
10) Core-Mark to Acquire Pine State Trading's Convenience Division
Convenience distributor Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. finalized a definitive asset purchase agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of Pine State Convenience, a division of Gardiner, Maine-based Pine State Trading Co. The transaction is structured as an all-cash asset acquisition. The purchase price is estimated to be approximately $112 million, based on the value of certain assets to be determined at closing.