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Labor Day C-store Beverage Sales Dampened Somewhat by Weather

NEW YORK — Beverage sales closed out the peak summer selling season on a somewhat high note, though some regions of the United States saw sales hampered by the weather.

According to Wells Fargo Securities LLC's Beverage Buzz survey, total beverage sales in convenience stores for the Labor Day holiday were up 4.5 percent. However, that increase is soft compared to the 6.2-percent increase retailers saw during the holiday in 2015.

Beverage Buzz surveys beverage retailers representing approximately 15,000 U.S. convenience stores.

As Bonnie Herzog pointed out, the weather was generally wetter and colder over the long weekend, and the Southeast region of the U.S. was negatively impacted by Hurricane Hermine. Herzog is the managing director of tobacco, beverage and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities.

In the survey, retailers also reported quarter-to-date sales growth for non-alcoholic beverages of 4.2 percent and alcoholic beverages growth of 5.3 percent, led by double-digit growth for Constellation Brands Inc. 

As Herzog explained, Constellation Brands' penetration in the convenience channel continues to grow as brands "earn additional shelf space in planograms" based on "off-the-charts" sales growth with two-thirds of retailers planning to give Constellation Brands offerings more shelf space in 2017.

Constellation is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S. with imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company's beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S.

In addition, Corona cans appear to be off to a modest start in c-stores and Wells Fargo Securities continues "to see this as a significant opportunity," according to Herzog.

And as CSNews Online previously reported, retailers have indicated the energy drink segment appears to be slowing down.

"Overall, beverage sales in c-stores remain solid, with pockets of strength in premium waters, healthy/functional non-alcoholic beverages, and import beers, particularly Constellation Brands," she added.

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