NATIONAL REPORT — The Sept. 9 deadline for premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs), ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and new retailer initiatives topped the headlines last month. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of September, based on reader views:
1) FDA Agrees to Release List of PMTA Product Applicants
Tobacco companies and manufacturers had until Sept. 9 to file PMTAs for products included in the 2016 deeming rule, among them vapor products. Any product that did not have PMTA must have been removed from the market as of Sept. 10.
2) Wawa Launches Sweepstakes to Counter National Coin Shortage
Wawa Inc. held a chainwide sweepstakes through which customers can enter to win "Shortis for a Year" by exchanging a minimum of $5 in rolled coins for dollar bills at any Wawa store. The sweepstakes ran through Thursday, Oct. 1.
3) Additional Tobacco Companies File PMTAs for Regulatory Review
Now that the Sept. 9 deadline has passed, convenience store retailers are finding out which companies have submitted PMTAs and can remain on the backbar pending final Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review. Under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA must approve PMTAs for newly deemed tobacco products — including electronic cigarettes and vapor products — to remain on the market.
4) GPM Investments CEO Talks New Business Combination
The parent company of GPM Investments LLC is moving toward becoming a public company in the United States through a strategic tie-up that will fuel its growth across the convenience channel. On Sept. 9, GPM parent Arko Holdings Ltd. entered into a definitive agreement with Haymaker Acquisition Corp. II, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, to form a business combination, pending shareholder approval.
5) Coen Markets Embarks on Chainwide Rebranding
Amoco is coming back to the greater Pittsburgh tri-state market by way of Coen Markets Inc. The move comes as Coen signed an agreement to rebrand the forecourt of its company-operated sites. In addition to bringing Amoco to its network, the company is rebranding all of its convenience stores to the Coen name, including those that are currently branded Ruff Creek Markets and CoGo's.
6) 7-Eleven Hires More Than 50,000 to Meet Pandemic Demand
As it kept its doors opens as an essential business, 7-Eleven Inc. more than doubled its hiring target for this year. In March, the convenience retailer launched a hiring initiative to add 20,000 new store employees. During the past six months, the company and its independent 7-Eleven franchise owners added more than 50,000 associates.
7) Convenience Store News' 2020 Technology Leader of the Year Is...
Convenience Store News has selected Gus Olympidis, founder, president and CEO of Family Express Corp., as its 2020 Technology Leader of the Year. This annual award goes to a technology leader (individual or company) who not only contributes to the success of their organization, but also to the advancement and growth of the convenience store industry as a whole.
8) Wawa Makes First Foray Into Smoking Cessation Category
Wawa has formed a partnership with GSK Consumer Healthcare to offer its Nicorette products at all Wawa stores — becoming the first major c-store retailer to launch Nicorette chainwide.
9) Casey's General Stores Enhances the Guest Experience With New Initiatives
Casey's General Stores Inc. is upping the ante for its customers and in return, the retailer is seeing its loyalty program membership close in on 3 million. In the past six months, the convenience store operator introduced several new initiatives at its stores that combine convenience with the digital space.
10) Five Key Consumer Behaviors Are Changing the Convenience Retail Space
As consumer behaviors change, it has become increasingly important that all aspects of convenience store operations work together to adjust to the new expectations along the shopper journey. Speaking during the recent Conexxus 2020 Annual Education and Strategy Conference, Kay Segal, founding partner of Business Accelerator Team, pointed to five key consumer trends that are impacting the convenience retail space.