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    2016 Results So Far Bode Well for C-store Industry: Part 2

    Merchandise and foodservice sales are solid.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    NATIONAL REPORT — In-store sales of merchandise and foodservice at U.S. convenience stores rose by a strong 3.1 percent for the first half of 2016, according to the annual Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card.

    In-store sales for the first half of 2016 were estimated to be a little more than $113 billion, an increase from almost $110 billion during the first half of 2015. In-store sales were only $106 billion during the first half of 2014, when fuel prices first started to go south.

    Merchandise sales for the first half of this year were up 2.7 percent to about $95 billion, an increase slightly less than the 3.2 percent achieved at last year’s mid-point; however, much better than the meager 1.6-percent gain of 2014.

    Foodservice sales continue to drive much of the convenience retail industry’s success. For the first half of this year, foodservice sales grew by 5.6 percent to more than $18 billion, a 5.6-percent increase. That’s on top of last year’s robust gain of 5.2 percent at the mid-point, and nearly as good as the remarkable 6.2-percent gain of 2014.

    Among in-store merchandise categories, cigarettes continued to lead in total sales, ringing up about $34.6 billion in revenue for the first half of the year, an increase of 2.4 percent. That’s an improvement on the 1.4-percent bump seen at the halfway point a year ago.

    Packaged beverages was the second-highest revenue-producing merchandise category. Including carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, juice, sports, bottled water, ready-to-drink iced tea and enhanced water, the packaged beverages category grew by 3.5 percent to $14.3 billion during the first half. That’s up from a 2.4-percent gain in the year-ago period.

    The fastest-growing merchandise categories in percentage terms, however, were wine and liquor (up 11 percent), other tobacco products (up 5.1 percent) and general merchandise (up 4.9 percent).

    Within the foodservice category, prepared foods led the way with a 7.3-percent sales gain to $12.6 billion, which represents an accelerated growth rate from last year’s 6.2 percent first-half increase.

    Hot dispensed beverages were up 2.1 percent over the first half of this year, while both cold and frozen dispensed beverages achieved sales increases of slightly less than 2 percent each.

    Stay tuned for Parts 3-6 of the 2016 Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card:
    Part 3: Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products
    Part 4: Packaged Beverages & Beer
    Part 5: Candy & Snacks
    Part 6: Prepared Foods & Dispensed Beverages

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    • About Don Longo Don Longo is editorial director of EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News. He has covered retailing for more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Previously, he spearheaded the editorial efforts at a variety of business publications focused on mass, drug, grocery and specialty store retailing. Convenience Store News won American Business Media’s Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Issue of the Year in 2008 and 2012. Longo has won numerous other editorial awards over his career and is frequently quoted in the national and local news media on the subjects of retailing and consumer trends.

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