swirling thoughts

What Keeps Convenience Wholesalers Up at Night

swirling thoughts

NATIONAL REPORT This year’s Convenience Store News Top Wholesalers report asked the c-store industry’s distributor community to share the top challenges impacting their business today. At the top of the list: increased government regulation, cited by almost one-third of respondents.

Also making their list is increased retailer consolidation, which was selected by 18.8 percent of respondents, followed by competition from other full-line wholesalers at 12.5 percent.

Several wholesalers also noted that pressure on cigarette margins and continuing decline in consumer demand for these products are the most important trends affecting their business currently.

Despite some challenges, the 20 companies included in this year’s exclusive CSNews Top Wholesalers ranking combined to post sales of $67.5 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent in the past year. That growth rate was slightly ahead of last year’s increase of 4.1 percent.

McLane Co. Inc. of Temple, Texas, remains at the top of the list with $31.7 billion in sales, a slight 1.9-percent decline from a year ago.

Strong gains by individual companies continue to be boosted by acquisitions a trend that is likely to continue. Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc., ranked in second place, increased sales by 30.6 percent year over year. Last year, this California-based convenience distributor acquired the convenience store division of Gardiner, Maine-based Pine State Trading Co. Then, in May of this year, Core-Mark announced the completion of its acquisition of last year’s fifth-ranked wholesaler, Farner-Bocken Co. of Carroll, Iowa.

Consumer Product Distributors Inc. posted a 30.1-percent sales increase, rising from ninth place last year to fifth place in this year’s CSNews Top Wholesalers report. The distributor recently acquired certain assets and most of the sales force of last year’s 12th-ranked company, Garber Bros. Inc. of Stoughton, Mass., when that company closed its doors in April.

Only one other company achieved double-digit sales growth: Harbor Wholesale Foods, at 18 percent over the previous year. No acquisitions were reported by this company, headquartered in Lacey, Wash.

Rankings are based on sales from the last full fiscal year for each company. Data was gathered through a survey conducted among the largest wholesalers primarily servicing c-stores that derive the majority of their annual sales from tobacco and candy products. Additional data was obtained through company reports and other public sources of financial data. In some cases, estimates have been made by CSNews based on historical data and current industry trends.

Look in the November issue of Convenience Store News for our full Top Wholesalers report.