We’ve written posts before about the importance of making sure that your store is ready to serve the specific customers in your area. To do this, you should not only understand the interests of your customers, but also the challenges to seeing success at your store’s location. While you can look at the trends in your city or even state, you should probably start by just looking at what’s happening in the region of the United States where you’re located. In every region in the United States, there are ways that c-stores can easily win with customers as well as ways that the industry needs to overcome and improve. NACS did the research on trends throughout six regions of the country, and we’d love to share the findings.
Findings from the Northeast & Midwest
C-stores in the Northeast are doing very well in foodservice
If you’re in this region and haven’t invested in foodservice yet, you should. Customers are getting used to having access to hot and cold prepared foods at their local c-stores.
The Northeast saw a large decline in cigarette sales in 2017
Rising taxes on tobacco products are making cigarettes a much less profitable category. If you’re in this region, or another place where tobacco taxes are increasing, make sure you are making up for the lost profit in other areas.
The Midwest sees more sales of perishable groceries than any other region in the country.
If your c-store is in the Midwest, you should evaluate your distribution and see how you can offer more perishable groceries like fruits and vegetables.
C-stores in the Midwest index below the national averages for 4 out of 5 foodservice categories.
More stores in the Midwest need to invest in a foodservice program, whether it be dispensed beverages or prepared sandwiches.
In both the Midwest and Northeast commissary sales are down.
Invest more in foodservice to win with customers in these regions, packaged goods are not where they are spending their money.
Findings from the Southeast and South Central Regions
Retailers in the Southeast are seeing the benefits of a growing population
More and more consumers are moving and settling in the Southeast, creating larger cities where more businesses can thrive
The Southeast underindexes in foodservice compared to the national average
More c-store owners in the Southeast need to take advantage of foodservice programs, as the region is missing a huge opportunity for new profits
The Southeast is ahead of the national averages when it comes to commissary product sales
While the other regions are struggling in this category, store owners in the Southeast are seeing continued success
C-stores in the South Central region seen a decline in prepared foods and dispensed beverages in 2017, causing them to underindex for both food service profit share and sales