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Monday, March 04

Russells Xpress


How Meat Snacks Are Evolving

By Howard Riell, Associate Editor
New flavors, healthier options and combination packs have created a marketing force that promises to drive meat snacks sales even higher in 2016.With more emphasis on home delivery, the category seems well positioned to garner incremental sales gains for convenience stores through online ordering and delivery.The evolving eating habits of U.S. consumers are also giving the category a boost. More Americans—including younger demographics—are snacking instead of consuming regular meals.


Looking for the Next Big Thing

By Sarah Hamaker
Usually, general merchandise’s potpourri of products is varied enough for the category to post positive sales. But lately, general merchandise has been more miss than hit for convenience stores.The category rose slightly (1.07%) in industry gross margin percentage from 2010 to 2011, according to NACS State of the Industry (SOI) data. But its average gross margin amount dipped 1.24% from 2010 to 2011, while the gross margin contribution rose a mere 0.20% in the same time period.


Product innovation and new flavors bring more growth to the salty snacks category.

By Sarah Hamaker
Americans can’t get enough of their salty snacks and sales of the category in convenience stores have accelerated in recent years as a result. “The category has been really strong,” said Jim Tidwell, director of merchandising for Super Stops and Minit Markets, in southern Arizona. “Specifically in 2012, we saw a lot of growth.” Vicki Jackson, marketing manager for Russell’s Convenience, in Lakewood, Colorado, agreed. “Salty snacks is actually one of the areas we’re up in, and that’s because the introduction of some new products.”

Packing a Foodservice Solution

By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor.
Russell’s Convenience Stores got lucky in the mid-1990s when an upstart bakery approached the chain about selling its sandwiches at the chain’s company-owned locations. Russell’s, based in Denver, operates 12 stores in the lobbies of downtown office buildings, plus three units in Los Angeles and one in Hawaii. It was selling basic wedge sandwiches from a local vendor at the time and was looking for an upscale offering that captured repeat business.


Demand for energy drinks continues to push sales upward, making the category a star performer

By Howard Riell, Associate Editor
Energy drink sales are up, even as larger, more established, mass-market categories like carbonated soft drinks and fruit beverages have dipped. For convenience store operators, the message couldn’t be clearer.“Energy drinks experienced solid volume growth in 2014, up 6.4%,” said Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC) “C-stores are by far the largest channel for energy drink sales because so many purchases are impulse driven. Over half of energy drink sales today are through convenience stores.”


Satisfying Upcale Tastes

Published by Convenience Store Decisions
Lakewood, Colo.-based Russell’s Convenience Stores, which has 20 locations in Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco, gets its sandwiches delivered daily by an outside supplier because, being situated in office buildings, the stores don’t have the space or lease agreements to make them in-house. One of the main reasons Russell’s chose this supplier is because it consistently provides sandwiches on the cutting edge of ingredients and flavor profiles, said the chain’s Marketing Manager Vicki Jackson.


How to Spruce Up Sandwich Offerings, Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, 2015

By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey
 It’s not often that customers express their approval when a retailer raises prices. But that’s exactly what happened when Englefield Oil’s Duchess Shoppe convenience stores increased the price of some sub sandwiches by $1.09 last year. The price hike followed a bread-to-condiment overhaul of the in-store deli-made sandwiches, the company’s first such endeavor in 15 years. “A customer came up to me and said she really appreciated the changes we had made in the sandwiches and that the additional cost was worth every penny,” said Judy Dudte, director of foodservice for the Heath, Ohio-based company, which has 122 locations in Ohio and West Virginia. “And, despite the rise in prices, our deli sales have jumped 20.8% since the introduction of the new sandwiches.”


McLane Case Study, 2015


CustomerSuccess RussellsCaseStudy 2


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