Alcohol and fresh and chilled are commanding the most attention from independent retailers this year, according to an exclusive survey conducted for Convenience Store.
The research, in which 100 retailers were quizzed on their plans for product area development, revealed that alcohol takes the lion's share of sales for most respondents, with 35% citing the beer, wines and spirits category as the biggest seller.
Unsurprisingly, tobacco takes the second greatest share, with 14% of those questioned claiming tobacco as the biggest seller. But the figures show that the fresh and chilled food sectors have also become major categories for c-stores, with 91% selling fresh and chilled products; 33% intending to extend their range of fresh and chilled foods this year; and 10% citing chilled, and 6% naming fresh produce as the biggest contributors to sales.
In contrast, grocery is proving to be a weak category for many retailers. A quarter of respondents named the section as the weakest seller. Non-food and babycare also fared badly, with 18% and 16% of respondents respectively citing these categories as their weakest sellers.
While most of those surveyed were either cagey or unsure when it came to which categories they hoped to grow this year, chilled and fresh produce are fairly high on the plans for growth for those who had a sure plan for the future, with 10% of respondents saying that chilled is top of their list for growth, and 8% hoping to increase sales of fruit and veg.
In terms of extending the space devoted to categories, alcohol is the category most likely to command more space in the next year. Surprisingly, though, the second largest sector for intended expansion is non-food. And while a significant number of retailers expected to grow fresh and chilled sales, only 4% said they would extend space for chilled, and 2% fresh produce.
Locally sourced products are sold in just over half of the c-stores surveyed, and while 48% of those were unsure whether they intended to introduce more lines this year, 28% said they would be extending their range.
Finally, bake-off is evidently a developing category for c-stores, with almost a quarter of respondents operating a bake-off facility. Sales contribution was more than 5% of the overall store sales mix for most of those.

business survey


Which product category is your biggest seller?
Alcohol 35%
Tobacco 14%
Chilled 10%
Non-food 10%
Grocery 9%
Confectionery 8%
Fresh produce 6%
Crisps and snacks 4%
Don't know/wouldn't say 2%
Food to go 1%
Soft drinks 1%

Which product category is your weakest seller?
Grocery 26%
Non-food 19%
Don't know/wouldn't say 19%
Babycare 16%
Fresh produce 7%
Confectionery 4%
Frozen 5%
Chilled 3%
Alcohol 2%
Tobacco 1%
Crisps and snacks 1%
Food to go 1%

Which product category do you expect to grow this year?
Frozen 45%
Don't know/wouldn't say 32%
Alcohol 15%
Chilled 10%
Non-food 10%
Fresh produce 8%
Soft drinks 5%
Grocery 4%
Confectionery 3%
Food to go 3%
All 2%
Tobacco 1%
Bakery 1%
Babycare 1%
Crisps and Snacks 1%

Which categories do you intend to extend space for this year?
Don't know/wouldn't say 56%
Alcohol 9% Non-food 7%
Frozen 4%
Grocery 4%
Chilled 4%
Confectionery 3%
Crisps and snacks 3%
Food to go 2%
Fresh produce 2%
Soft drinks 3%

Which categories do you intend to reduce space for this year?
Don't know/wouldn't say 76%
Grocery 8%
Non-food 4%
Babycare 4%
Crisps and snacks 2%
Frozen 2%
Alcohol 1%
News and magazines 1%
Chilled 1%
Food to go 1%

Do you offer fresh and chilled foods?
Yes 91%
No 9%

Do you intend to extend your range this year?
No 58%
Yes 33%
Don't know 9%

Do you offer locally produced goods?
Yes 52%
No 48%

Do you intend to introduce more local products this year?
Don't know 48%
Yes 28%
No 24%

Do you have a bake-off facility?
No 77%
Yes 23%

If yes, what proportion of sales does the bake-off section make up?
Up to 10% 78%
More than 10% 17%
Don't know 5%

business survey


Those who responded positively to extending space for a specific category this year also revealed the proportion by which they intended to extend. Here are the findings...
Alcohol
Up to 10% 55%
More than 10% 45%
Chilled
Up to 10% 50%
More than 10% 50%
Confectionery
Up to 10% 33%
More than 10% 66%
Crisps & snacks
Up to 10% 67%
More than 10% 33%
Food to go
25% 50%
100% 50%
Fresh produce
Up to 10% 50%
More than 10% 50%
Frozen
Up to 10% 100%
Grocery
Up to 10% 50%
More than 10% 50%
Non-food
Up to 10% 71%
More than 10% 29%
Soft drinks
Up to 10% 33%
More than 10% 67%
News and magazines
Up to 10% 100%
The following figures show the proportion by which respondents intended to reduce space...
Alcohol
More than 10% 100%
Babycare
More than 10% 100%
Chilled
Up to 10% 100%
Crisps and snacks
Up to 10% 50%
More than 10% 50%
Food to go
More than 10% 100%
Frozen
Up to 10% 50%
More than 10% 50%
Grocery
Up to 10% 37.5%
More than 10% 62.5%
Non food
Up to 10% 75%
More than 10% 25%
News and magazines
Up to 10% 100%

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