NATIONAL REPORT — Various convenience store chains' plans for growth were among the stories most important to CSNews Online readers last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of March, based on reader views:
1) Eby-Brown to Be Acquired by Performance Food Group
Performance Food Group Co. (PFG) announced that it inked a definitive agreement to acquire Eby-Brown Co. LLC. The acquisition will allow PFG's Vistar segment to strategically expand in the convenience channel where there is significant overlap with suppliers and product categories, as well as opportunities to use PFG brands for unique solutions in the prepared/made-to-order foodservice market, according to the company.
2) 7-Eleven Opening Six Test Stores to Try Out New Concepts
7-Eleven Inc. plans to grow its footprint by first testing a new store concept. The convenience retailer welcomed customers at a new Dallas-area convenience store on Sylvan Avenue on Interstate 30. The location is the first of six new test stores the company plans to open around the United States.
3) 7-Eleven Celebrates National Pi Day With Pizza Specials
Customers could download the convenience store chain's 7NOW delivery app and order a whole pie for just $3.14 all day long, or purchase a single slice in-store for just 50 cents when they scanned their 7Rewards loyalty program app at checkout on National Pi Day.
4) How C-stores Can Ward Off the Infiltration of Amazon
With 10 locations open in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, the e-commerce giant is looking to possibly open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations over the next few years, with as many as 50 locations in major metropolitan areas by the end of 2019, according to recent news reports. What does this mean for convenience stores? Should c-store operators be concerned about this affecting their own stores and sales? The short answer is "yes."
5) Digital, Private Brands at Center of 2019 7-Eleven Experience
The multifaceted event, held in Las Vegas, consisted of a trade show, expo, Product Assortment Learning Center (PALC) and model store. The trade show featured more than 146 vendor partners — double the number of booths from last year — and 888 pre-book opportunities for 7-Eleven franchisees. Hundreds of new products also were available for sampling.
6) Yesway Finds Its Way to the Top of the C-store Industry’s Growers
Last spring, the convenience store retailer built up its portfolio to 100 stores with the acquisition of 11 Pick-A-Dilly locations in northeast Missouri. One month later, the Des Moines-based retailer reached the 150-store milestone by purchasing Fresh Start stores. That deal also expanded Yesway's footprint into three more states: South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. Those transactions were part of the driving force that pushed Yesway to No. 6 on the 2019 Convenience Store News Top 20 Growth Chains ranking.
7) Franchisees Optimistic at the 2019 7-Eleven Experience
Despite a rallying cry by the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees to boycott the convenience store giant's annual convention, the recent 2019 7-Eleven Experience saw record attendance. According to 7-Eleven Inc., this year's conference drew a record participation of more than 4,500 7-Eleven franchisees and their guests, and a total attendance of 8,500-plus.
8) Juul Labs Advocates for Federal Tobacco 21 Legislation
Juul Labs Inc. is running ads in support of Tobacco 21 laws in several states as it makes a push to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. Juul also said it supports the legislation where it is active — specifically citing Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Those states, according to the company, collectively account for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population.
9) RaceTrac President: Time Is Right for Franchising Program
RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.'s reshaped executive team is hitting the ground running, and launching a new franchising program is at the top of its to-do list. "We recognize that RaceTrac's 85-year history, convenient locations and proven experience in marketing, operations and merchandising put us in a unique position to recruit and support qualified entrepreneurs," newly appointed RaceTrac President Natalie Morhous told Convenience Store News.
10) FDA Takes "Forceful New Actions" Around Youth Tobacco Use
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is zeroing in on retailers as the agency works toward ending underage tobacco use. On March 4, the agency sent a letter to the corporate management of Walgreen Co. to request a meeting to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores' track record of violating the law by illegally selling tobacco products to underage consumers, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. In addition to Walgreens, the FDA identified 15 national retail chains, either corporate-owned or franchised, whose violation rates exceed 15 percent of their total inspected stores since the start of the agency's retailer compliance check inspection program in 2010.