NATIONAL REPORT — Various convenience store chains' plans for growth were among the stories important to CSNews Online readers last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of February, based on reader views:
1) Altria Assembles Team for iQOS Commercialization
The company is working with Philip Morris International to bring the heat-not-burn product to the U.S. In early December, it submitted a Modified Risk Tobacco Product application for its electronically heated tobacco product with the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products.
2) C-store Out-of-Stocks Drive Consumers to Competitors
Location is key when it comes to succeeding at convenience retailing, but so is having products in-stock for customers to buy once they get to the store. New research from Carbonview Research, sister company of Convenience Store News, finds that 39 percent of shoppers experienced an out-of-stock situation at a convenience store, and half of them experienced it within the past two to three weeks.
3) GPM Revs Up Southeast Growth With Another Acquisition
The company signed an agreement with Mountain Empire Oil Co. Inc., operating as Roadrunner Markets, under which it will purchase 92 convenience stores with fuel sales and seven quick-service restaurants. The assets are located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
4) U.S. Smokeless Replenishing Inventories After Recall
U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. (USSTC) is moving on from the recent recall of several products and replacing the inventory. Altria Chief Operating Officer Howard Willard said the company is "almost done replenishing retail and wholesale inventories with new product, and are confident USSTC will recover quickly and build on its excellent 2016 results."
5) Walmart Testing Another New C-store Concept
After a year of development, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has taken the wraps off of its newest convenience store concept in Rogers, Ark. The 2,500-square-foot fuel station and c-store combo features an expanded selection of food and drinks and is located at the entrance of a Walmart Supercenter.
6) Meet the C-store Snacks Shopper
When it comes to the top reasons consumers shop at a convenience store, purchasing a snack ranks in the top three, trailing only behind purchasing beverages and buying fuel. Nearly 66 percent of the consumers surveyed for this year's CSNews Realities of the Aisle study say they shop at a c-store to buy snacks, compared to 98 percent who frequent c-stores to buy beverages (both packaged and dispensed), and 80 percent who do so to fuel up.
7) Tesoro & Western Refining Merger Heads to a Vote
Stockholders of Tesoro Corp. and Western Refining will have their say on the proposed merger next month. According to a joint filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the companies set a March 24 date for the vote.
8) Wawa Reportedly Secures Tug Barge for Fuel Transport
Wawa Inc. will take delivery of an articulated tug barge from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in order to transport gasoline from the Gulf Coast to Florida. It will facilitate Wawa's plans to expand its presence in Florida, which relies primarily on seaborne fuel shipments due to lack of pipeline access.
9) The Final Deeming Rule: Six Months Later
Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, outlined several key issues with the deeming rule for attendees of the Convenience Distribution Association's 2017 Convenience Distribution Marketplace event, taking place last month in Orlando.
10) Closing the Gourmet Coffee Gap
The data indicates that the convenience channel could benefit from making more of an effort. From the latest preparation techniques to sourcing the beans themselves, going the extra gourmet mile is what the new generation of coffee lovers want; they are clearly not satisfied with their parents' drip brew, according to the National Coffee Association.