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Houston, Texas -- After several quarters of declines in purchase incidence across most categories, consumers returned to purchasing a larger variety of products from convenience stores in the second quarter of 2009, according to The NPD Group. Bottle/can soda, frozen/slushy drinks, and other tobacco products all increased purchase incidence by 0.7 percentage points compared to the second quarter of 2008, according to NPD's Convenience Store Monitor, which tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 49,000 convenience store shoppers in the U.S.
NPD's Convenience Store Monitor reported beverage purchase incidence overall, with the exception of bottled water, increased as did candy/gum, (up 0.4 percent), packaged sweet goods (up 0.3 percent), other tobacco products (up 0.7 percent), and packaged sandwiches, (up 0.2 percent) in the second quarter of 2009 (April/May/June) versus the same quarter last year.
Categories posting purchase incidence declines in the second quarter compared to last year were cigarettes (down 1.2 percent), bottled water (down 0.8 percent), chips/pretzels (down 0.6 percent), juice/juice drinks (down 0.6 percent), milk (down 0.5 percent), and beer (down 0.2 percent). Gas purchase incidence at convenience stores also declined, with 2.6 percent fewer consumers than in second quarter 2008 reporting gas purchases on their most recent visit.
"With gasoline prices below last year's historic highs, many consumers are beginning to feel the freedom to pick up a single serve beverage or a snack," said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's auto unit. "In some cases, consumers may look at these items as an inexpensive meal replacement."
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