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NATIONAL REPORT — Salty snacks generated a solid 3.9-percent increase in sales at U.S. convenience stores over the first half of this year, according to the annual Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card. In the first half of 2015, salty snack sales increased 2.8 percent.
The candy category, meanwhile, saw a 1.3-percent increase in sales during the first six months of 2016. In the first half of last year, candy sales were essentially flat.
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.
Potato chips and tortilla/corn chips, the two largest salty snack subcategories, enjoyed sales increases of 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, in the first half of 2016 — about a percentage point better than the increases those segments achieved in the year-ago period.
Ready-to-eat popcorn saw the largest percentage increase, up 7.5 percent in revenue. Crackers, with a 5-percent gain, had the second-largest percentage increase during the first six months of this year.
In the candy category, chocolate and non-chocolate bars/packs, gum, rolls, mints and drops were all flat or down in the first half. Only bagged/repacked peg candy and novelty/seasonal candy were up.
Chocolate bars/packs were down a half a percent; non-chocolate bars/packs fell by 12.5 percent. Gum saw a 3.1-percent sales drop, but that decline was less than the 4-percent decrease of a year ago.
On a more positive note, sales of novelty/seasonal candy rose by 7.3 percent in the first half, and bagged/repacked peg candy experienced a robust 5.3-percent gain.
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And stay tuned for the sixth and final installment of the 2016 Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card, focusing on prepared foods and dispensed beverages.