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    C-Store Retailers Continue Marketing to Latino Shopper

    Survey shows retailers making merchandising, marketing and operational changes serve the Hispanic population.

    NEW YORK -- Five out of 10 retailers surveyed last month by the retail group of VNU Business Media are expanding their product offerings to maximize sales to the growing Hispanic market.

    Approximately 48 percent of convenience retailers and 41 percent of mass/drug/specialty store retailers said they are expanding their Hispanic product offerings. The retailers were surveyed in February as part of the monthly polling for the VNU Retail Index, a survey of more than 500 retailers from the grocery, convenience, drug, mass and specialty store channels. In addition to questions appraising current business conditions and their expectations for future business prospects, these retailers were also asked about their efforts to maximize sales to the growing Hispanic market.

    According to the survey results, supermarket operators appear to be the most aggressive at this time, with 58 percent of those surveyed reporting that they are changing plan-ograms to add more Hispanic items and introducing new products designed for the Hispanic population.

    About half of the convenience store operators surveyed said they are taking merchandising, marketing and operational steps to serve this market better. In comments on the survey, convenience store retailers said they are:

    -- “Adding specifically targeted items, in mostly snack and candy.”
    -- “Hiring more Latino workers” and “employing residents from the community.”
    -- “Adding ethnic foods and out-of-country phone cards.”
    -- “Utilizing bilingual advertising and POP materials combined with a real effort to hire bilingual managers.”

    “We have added products that appeal to this segment of the market,” said another convenience store retailer. “We feel that our continued efforts and appeal to this market will help us gain Hispanic business.”

    Only about 15 percent of convenience store operators said that Hispanic shoppers are not a factor in their markets or that they are currently not doing anything different to attract Hispanic shoppers.

    Like grocery and c-store operators, mass/drug/specialty retailers are also expanding their assortments of food and beverage products aimed at Latino consumers. However, they are adding Hispanic-themed merchandise in other areas as well, such as greeting cards and party goods, apparel, cooking equipment and tabletop merchandise.

    The VNU Retail Index is a service provided by VNU Business Publications and ACNielsen. If you are a retailer interested in joining the VNU Retail Index panel, please contact Debra Chanil, director of market research, at [email protected].

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