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    Top C-Store Wholesalers Profit from Consolidation

    The top 25 convenience wholesalers combined to reach sales of $43.2 billion in the last fiscal year, according to the latest survey conducted by Convenience Store News. This growth of $1.3 billion represents an increase of 3 percent over last year.

    The top 25 convenience wholesalers combined to reach sales of $43.2 billion in the last fiscal year, according to the latest survey conducted by Convenience Store News. This growth of $1.3 billion represents an increase of 3 percent over last year.

    Consolidations continue to affect the industry. The most recent was Core-Mark International's acquisition of Klein Wholesale Distributors, which was finalized in June. Core-Mark plans to incorporate the Klein operations into its existing distribution network, thus creating a national distribution capacity.

    The effects of these consolidations are clear. Today, there are approximately 650 convenience distributors. "Ten years ago the number was more than double that," said Robert Pignato, vice president of marketing, membership and industry affairs for the American Wholesale Marketers Association. "For the distributors," said Pignato, "it's all about profit!"

    In fact, many among the Top 25 are not just surviving, but thriving. McLane Co. continues its reign at the top with sales of $19.8 billion, more than the combined sales of the next 12 companies on the list. Core-Mark also retains last year's rank of second place, although it's 15.8 percent increase in sales for the last fiscal year was the highest recorded among the Top 25. Rounding out the top five are Eby-Brown Co., H.T. Hackney Co. and GSC Enterprises, Inc., all repeating their ranking from last year.

    Among the shifts in ranking is the move of S. Abraham & Sons from eighth last year to sixth in the current study. Additionally, a pre-acquisition Klein Wholesale Distributors dropped from sixth to 12th place in the last fiscal year, allowing Harold Levinson Associates, Chambers & Owens, Garber Bros., and J.T. Davenport & Sons to each climb one place in the rankings.

    While last year's results showed sales increases among the top 10 companies lagging behind those of the top 25 (4.4 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively), the trend reversed itself this year, as the top 10 achieved a 4 percent increase, compared to 3 percent for the top 25 companies.

    One interesting trend among top 25 convenience wholesalers is an increase in the use of part-time employees — the count for these workers was up more than 50 percent from last year, even as the number of full-time employees remained relatively stable, declining by less than 1 percent.

    METHDOLOGY

    Rankings for the Top 25 Convenience Wholesalers are based on sales from the last full fiscal year. Data for this report was gathered through a survey conducted among the largest wholesalers that primarily service c-stores that derive a majority of their annual sales from tobacco and candy products. Additional data was obtained through company reports and other public sources of financial data. In some cases, estimates have been made by Convenience Store News based on historical data and current industry trends.

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