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Why McLane Is 2016's General Merchandise Category Captain


TEMPLE, Texas — McLane Co. Inc. took the initiative last year to seek out valued novelty suppliers and offer a great lineup of items to fit the retailer’s needs on an in/out basis. Overall, McLane recognized the opportunity to offer a wholesale solution to the direct-store-delivery novelty networks currently in convenience stores.

Not only does this reduce the number of trucks delivering merchandise in the retailer’s parking lot, but it gives customers ease of mind that these great items can be delivered throughout the week with their normal deliveries and reduces the opportunity for out-of-stocks.

For its efforts, McLane Co. Inc. was selected winner of the 2016 Convenience Store News Category Captains award in the general merchandise category.

Now in its third year, the awards program applauds outstanding category management initiatives implemented in the convenience channel over the past 12 months. All entries were judged by product development experts at consumer research firm Past Times Marketing based on the information supplied by participating companies.

McLane’s category management team used several tools to initiate interest and increase sales throughout the year, including the McLane Virtual Tradeshow, discussions in McLane’s Center for Category Innovation (formerly the McLane Lab Store), and educational webinars with the McLane sales team in order to help gain awareness of the offerings and highlight the featured vendors.

Additional time and effort has also been put into seeking new items and additional offerings for the past several months related to new movie-themed merchandise, college football and other seasonal occasion treasures. These efforts yielded great results in 2015 both in dollars and units, and as a result, McLane anticipates this category will continue to grow significantly in 2016.

In general merchandise, novelty is an especially key driver for impulse sales in convenience/truck travel. Year to date, general merchandise subcategories such as batteries, novelty, hardware and school/office supplies are all growing for McLane, which has seen an 8-percent increase in sales across the category overall and triple-digit growth on key vendors for novelty through use of the marketing platforms mentioned.

For more on the winners and their category management initiatives, look in the Convenience Store News Guide to Category Management, published this month.

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