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While general merchandise category offers retailers the chance to reap high margins while distinguishing their store with some local color or hot-button trends, operators had a hard time capitalizing on these opportunities in 2009. In total, general merchandise sales declined 5 percent at the average c-store for the year, averaging $41,653 per store. All category segments posted a decline in sales for the year.
Automotive products remained the largest segment in the category. Though sales fell to $9,182 per store, a decline of 1.2 percent for the year, the segment gained 0.8 points in share reach 22 percent of total category dollars.
The catch-all nature of the general merchandise category is reflected in the high percentage of products categorized as "all other." While dollar share for this segment declined 1 percentage point, this segment still accounts for almost one-quarter of category sales.