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    C-Store Candy, Gum Sales Surge

    Channel poised to overtake supermarkets as best-selling retail channel.

    Convenience store candy and gum sales have increased more than 7 percent over the most recent 52-week period, according to Information Resources Inc. The rapid growth in convenience store sales is more than double the overall growth rate of total candy and gum sales, which grew at 3.2 percent during the same period.

    "Candy and gum are categories that sell in all major retail classes of trade with supermarkets typically leading the way," Jim Corcoran of the National Confectioners Association told CSNews Online. "As American consumers become busier and busier, however, their retail store of choice is quickly becoming the convenience store. If current sales trends for candy and gum hold up, convenience store outlets will overtake supermarkets as the largest retail channel for candy and gum later this year."

    Gum and chocolate candy sales, in particular, have been strong in 2006, Corcoran said, pointing to many new exotic sugarless gum flavor and dark chocolate item introductions over the past 12 months.

    "Consumers cannot get enough dark chocolate candy and the associated health benefits," he noted.

    Industry gum sales grew at a 9.7 percent rate -- sugarless gum sales grew more than 15 percent -- and chocolate candy sales increased 6.6 percent.

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