Year in Review: The Top 10 Stories of 2012


JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- 2012 was an eventful year in the convenience store industry. Retailers merged, expanded and rebranded themselves, as suppliers got creative to set their products apart from the pack. Legislative issues and the presidential election kept large chains and single-store owners alike on their toes as they waited to see what the effects on their businesses would be. In this annual Year in Review, CSNews Online reviews the top 10 news stories of the year, based on total page views from

1) Tobacco Consumption Drops in Wake of Federal Tax Hike
More than three years after President Obama signed legislation hiking the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.01 a pack, the number of consumers who smoke has dropped. According to an analysis by USA Today, the decrease in smoking can be seen especially among teens, poor people and those dependent on government insurance. Click here for the full story.

2) Bud Light Platinum Makes Debut Appearance in Texas
Bud Light Platinum went on sale in Texas one week earlier than the rest of the United States. The new brew, an "upscale light beer option" that is "slightly sweeter" than prior Bud Light products, is intended to counteract the growing U.S. interest in craft beers, appeal to a key group of beer drinkers and expand consumer occasions. Click here for the full story.

3) Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco Breaks Sales Record
Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco, launched on March 8, is now the most successful product launch in the chain's history. In its first 10 weeks, the company stated that it sold 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos, which sell for $1.29 and combine seasoned beef, lettuce and tomatoes with a nacho cheese-flavored, Doritos-branded "taco jacket." Click here for the full story.

4) Walgreens Debuts Urban Concept Store in Chicago's Loop
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Joe Magnacca, Walgreens’ president of daily living products and solutions, in welcoming guests to the grand opening celebration of the company's new flagship store at State and Randolph Streets in Chicago's Loop. The event marked Walgreens' return to the corner where it operated a store from 1926 to 2005. Click here for the full story.

5) CSNews Reveals This Year's Top 100 Convenience Stores
7-Eleven Inc. continued to pull away from the pack as the U.S. convenience industry's largest chain by number of stores. In general, "pure" convenience store companies such as Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (Circle K), Wawa Inc. and QuikTrip Corp. got bigger, while big oil companies like BP and ExxonMobil Corp. lost ground in this year's Top 100 ranking. Click here for the full story.

6) Examining C-store Shoppers From Pump to Register
What if you could dive inside the convenience store shopper's mind to understand the way he or she makes a purchase decision? Mars Chocolate North America conducted such a study in partnership with a national c-store retailer. Click here for the full story.

7) Whatever Happened to Home Depot Fuel?
Six years ago, the convenience store industry was abuzz over news that Home Depot had entered the business. Today, though, The Home Depot Inc. continues to operate just six Home Depot Fuel convenience and fuel stores. Click here for the full story.

8) QuikTrip's Biggest Growth Year Yet
The Tulsa-based chain added 21 stores between December 2010 and December 2011 for a 3.7-percent increase in store count. "If everything goes the way we hope, we expect to open more stores this year than we ever have before," said Mike Thornbrugh, QuikTrip's manager of public and government affairs. Click here for the full story.

9) CSNews' Top 10 Predictions for 2012
Legislative battles and a still-struggling economy marked a year of ups and downs for the convenience store industry in 2011. As the new year dawned, the editors of Convenience Store News offered their top 10 predictions for the industry in 2012. Click here for the full story.

10) Valero Responds to Reports of Retail Selloff
Nearly two months after Valero Energy Corp. authorized its board to explore options for a separation of its retail business, media reports surfaced stating that the company had decided to sell off its retail business through an auction. Bill Day, executive director of media relations at Valero, told CSNews Online that along with the July 31 directive to the board, the San Antonio-based company was still reviewing several potential separation transactions, including a tax-efficient distribution of the retail business to Valero's shareholders. Click here for the full story.

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