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    2016 Results So Far Bode Well for C-store Industry: Part 4

    Packaged beverages, beer outperformed in-store sales.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    NATIONAL REPORT — Packaged beverages were the second-highest revenue-producing merchandise category of in-store sales at U.S. convenience stores over the first half of 2016, according to the annual Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card.

    Packaged beverages, including carbonated soft drinks (CSDs), energy drinks, juice, sports, bottled water, ready-to-drink iced tea and enhanced water, grew by 3.5 percent to $14.3 billion during the first half of this year. That’s up from a 2.4-percent gain in the year-ago period.

    Meanwhile, beer sales rose by 3.1 percent to $10.7 billion during the first half of 2016. That’s a full percentage point better than the year-ago first-half period.

    Overall merchandise sales were up 2.7 percent to about $95 billion for the first half of this year, 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.

    CSDs remains the largest subcategory in the c-store cooler. Although sales were flat over the first half of this year, that’s a slight improvement over the 1-percent decline during the first half of 2015.

    Sales for the second-largest subcategory, alternative beverages (including energy drinks), accelerated during the first half of 2016. Alternative beverage sales rose 4.5 percent to $3.7 billion, an increase from the 3.5-percent gain of the previous year.

    It’s been a good year thus far for bottled water and enhanced water, too. Bottled water sales rose 6.9 percent, and enhanced water sales climbed a whopping 11.5 percent over the first half of 2016.

    In the beer category, premium brands remain the largest subcategory with $5.3 billion in first-half sales, which represented a decline of about half a percent from the year-ago period.

    Imports (up 16.4 percent), super premium brands (up 15.4 percent), and microbrews/craft beers (up 22.9 percent) are the hot subcategories in beer. All three of those subcategories outperformed their growth from the previous six-month period.

    Click through the charts above to see more results.

    And stay tuned for Parts 5-6 of the 2016 Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card:
    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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