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    7-Eleven CEO Notices Changes in Consumer Spending

    Customers buying beer in 18-packs, cutting back on cigarettes.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc.'s customers are looking for beer values, buying fewer six- and 12-packs, while opting for 18-packs, according to CEO Joe DePinto.

    7-Eleven stores are giving more room to the bigger packs, and making more adjustments in their offer, as customers adjust spending to the recession, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News. Customers are buying less expensive beer during the week, and picking up more premium brands for the weekend.

    Among other changes in the c-store operators' customers spending: consumer are trading down to $10 prepaid phone cards from $20 ones; using refillable coffee mugs more frequently; and, since the 62-cent federal excise tax on cigarettes hit April 1, pack-a-day customers are becoming pack-every-three-day customers, the newspaper reported.

    As people use their backyard grills more, propane sales are up. The chain plans to expand the number of stores that sell tanks and refills.

    In another shift in the cooler, customers are buying more Mountain Dew, trading down from more expensive energy drinks and waters, the newspaper noted. The highly caffeinated soda is now the chain's number-three carbonated beverage.

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