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CARY, N.C. and DALLAS -- While most of the holiday shopping news every year centers around malls and big-box stores, convenience stores should not be overlooked when it comes to buying gifts.
According to Jon Bratta, vice president of packaged goods for The Pantry's Kangaroo Express, c-stores are the perfect place to find stocking stuffers like beef jerky, ear buds for iPods, LED flashlights and popular candy and snacks.
Customers can also pick up gift cards. In fact, he noted that the National Retail Federation's 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey found that eight in 10 holiday shoppers plan to give gift cards this year.
In addition, Bratta pointed out that many Kangaroo Express stores are redbox locations where customers can buy vouchers for discount bundles of Redbox rentals. Lottery scratch-offs are another c-store staple that make a perfect gift this season, he said.
Other holiday convenience store trends include gifts for a host or hostess, such as a bottle of wine or some craft beer.
Consumers looking for last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers can also find them at 7-Eleven stores.
"7-Eleven is a great place to multi-task when the days -- and nights -- don't seem long enough, and the shopping days are dwindling," said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven Inc.'s senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. "Fill up your car, grab a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and while you're at it, scratch off a couple of things on your holiday shopping list. No lines and no worries. It's about convenience, and that's what we're all about."
Delgado-Jenkins agreed that gift cards are a good choice, with 7-Eleven offering cards for music, games and general purpose. "Recipients can use general purpose gift cards for whatever they want or need," he said. "They can split it up among their favorite stores, put it toward necessities like gas or groceries, or even use it for something experiential, like a trip."
For the techie on the shopping list, mobile handsets and airtime cards are offered at participating 7-Eleven locations. Other gifts available include boxed chocolates, remote-controlled toys and the retailer's private label wine.