Industry Roundup: The Top 10 Most-Read Stories of April 2020

NATIONAL REPORT — The COVID-19 pandemic's effect on the convenience store industry continued to dominate the news last month. Readers were also eager to learn who was named a 2020 Top Women in Convenience winner. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of April, based on reader views:

1) 7-Eleven Ups Franchisee Support Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic
7-Eleven Inc. has committed nearly $95 million to support its franchisees in this crucial time as they provide their local customers the food, beverages, household essentials and other critical supplies they need in a clean and safe environment.

"7-Eleven franchisees are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic serving the communities in which they operate," said Chief Franchise Officer Greg Franks. "I'm proud of the leadership and commitment to customers that each franchisee has shown since the health crisis began by providing food, beverages and other critical supplies to the communities they serve."

2) BP Thanks Local Heroes With Free Food & Fuel Discounts
BP is taking its turn to say "thank you" to local heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The oil producer and convenience store operator will provide up to $2 million in free coffee, fountain drink or hot dogs and fuel discounts to first responders, nurses, doctors and hospital staff as they fight to help communities healthy and safe.

3) Convenience Store News Introduces 2020 Top Women in Convenience
Convenience Store News will celebrate 53 female leaders at its 2020 Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards ceremony this fall. Now in its seventh year, the program recognizes the important role women play in convenience retailing as managers and leaders. TWIC is the first and only convenience store industry awards program that recognizes women making outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry.

4) Federal Judge Approves Delay of PMTA Deadline for Vapor Products
Tobacco and vapor companies have an extra four months to file their premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) for newly deemed tobacco products with the Food and Drug Administration.

5) House Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Support C-store & Grocery Workers Through COVID-19 Crisis
In a bipartisan show of support for convenience and grocery store workers, Representatives Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R, PA-15) and Dwight Evans (D, PA-03) introduced H.R. 6567, the Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief Act, or GROCER Act. The bill would establish a federal tax holiday for such employees from Feb. 15 through June 15 for individuals making less than $75,000 annually.

6) Convenience Store News Announces 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees
Greg Parker, founder and CEO of Savannah, Ga.-based Parker’s, and Dave Onorato, vice president, general manager, small format stores for The Hershey Co., have been selected as the 2020 inductees into the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame. This year's Hall of Famers will be honored at a gala banquet and induction ceremony in the fall in Savannah, the hometown of Parker's, which operates 64 modern c-stores across Georgia and South Carolina.

7) Visa Denies Request to Delay Oct. 1 EMV Deadline
NACS joined with several other fuel retailing groups to ask the major financial card networks to push back the Oct. 1 deadline as the industry wrestles with upgrading its fuel pumps during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visa later agreed to push the deadline to April 17, 2021.

8) British American Tobacco Files Patent Infringement Claims Against PMI's IQOS
BAT is suing its fellow tobacco company for patent infringement in the United States and Germany concerning PMI's IQOS. BAT — the parent company of Reynolds American Inc. — filed two patent infringement claims in the U.S. against PMI, one through the International Trade Commission and one in the Virginia federal court, seeking remedies for damages caused and an injunction on importing the product.

9) How C-stores Are Coping With the Daily Challenges of COVID-19
The whole world is coping with uncertainty and change as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The U.S. convenience store industry is not exempt, forcing retailers to adapt rapidly to the new reality. Among the steps retailers have taken to date are: intensifying their cleaning routines; enforcing social distancing through the use of drive-thrus, contactless payment and curbside pickup; and rewarding and protecting frontline employees to the best of their ability.

10) Murphy USA Weathers Three Historic Events
Speaking during the company's first-quarter earnings call, held April 17, Murphy USA President and CEO Andrew Clyde reported that the convenience store retailer has been impacted by the combination of three "historic events": the rapid and steep fall in crude oil prices that resulted from the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the resulting oversupply in domestic and global markets; the global COVID-19 pandemic that introduced the novel coronavirus throughout the United States; and the large-scale government response and intervention.